How Does The Other Woman Feel When The Husband Chooses To Go Back To His Wife?

By: Katie Lersch: Sometimes, when you are a wife and your husband is having an affair, all you can think about is whether or not he is going to choose you and your marriage.  This can be true even if you are unsure if you want the same thing.

However, once he does chose you, that’s when you can begin to wonder what is happening with her. Quite understandably, many wives initially don’t really care what she is feeling as long as she is doing it outside of every one else’s life and marriage. But there is often a good deal of curiousity about what is going on with her.

A wife might say: “when I first found out about my husband’s affair, I had a very strong, and a very scary, reaction. I kiced him out of our home and I told him that I never wanted to see his face again. Of course, he went right to the other woman’s place. And because I would not talk to him, he stayed with her for a while. One day, he came by my work and begged me to have lunch. I promised ten minutes of coffee. He looked awful and seemed so broken. A few weeks later, he asked me for coffee again. We had plenty of coffees before I would agree to lunch. I was very wary of him. But gradually, we have made progress. My husband wants to save our marriage. I told him I can’t give him any guarantees. He told me that even so, he is going to break it off with the other woman. He said that even without any promises, he wanted to give our marriage the best chance possible. He is living with his sister. And he is going to counseling on his own. The other woman actually left a letter in my mail box. I tore it up and I never looked at it. I didn’t think much about her in the beginning. But now I find myself wondering what she is thinking and feeling. I wonder how it feels to have a married man come stay with you after his wife kicks him out and then watch as leaves because he is willing to live with his sister just to have a small chance at getting his wife back. How must this make her feel. How does the other woman really feel when the husband chooses his wife?”

Well, if there is one thing that I have learned from writing these articles, it is that there is no one personality or reaction of the other woman, just as there is no set personality or reaction of the wife. There are many common feelings or reactions though. And I will list some of them below.

Relief: Believe it or not, it could have been emotionally taxing for the other woman when the husband came to her home. Considering that he was very obviously pining for his wife, it’s likely he wasn’t his charming and loving best while at her home. So she may have suspected that he wasn’t happy or was struggling with the loss of his marriage. Because of that, when he left her house and went to his sister’s for a chance at his marriage, this may just have been an extention of what she already knew. And it might be a relief not to have to live with the drama and suspense anymore.

Plus many “other women” feel a lot of tension from the suspense of wondering how this is all going to play out. When the wife doesn’t know, the other woman can spend a lot of time wondering what the outcome is going to be and running possible scenarios through her mind. But when she finally knows for sure, this can release some of the tension.  And to her surprise, she might feel like she can finally breathe again.

Anger And Feeling Used: Sure, she may have known that she was with a married man and he may have even have made it clear that he had no intentions of leaving his wife. But, that doesn’t mean that she didn’t hope that one day things would be different. If she didn’t, it isn’t likely that she would not have opened her home and her heart to him.

So while she may have always known that this day might come, when it does, it can hurt. It can make her feel like he was only using her all along – as if all he wanted was the release and the ego boost. And now, while the husband may well end up with his wife and will one day carry on as if nothing ever happened, she is left picking up the pieces. Now, she has no one. She is the one left behind.

Understandably, this can leave her feeling very angry and taken advantage of.  There can be a good deal of resentment. I’ve had other women tell me things like: “those two deserve each other. I hope that they make each other miserable for years and years.” Of course, it makes her feel better to think this way. It hurts more to know that it is possible that the married couple will go to counseling, get it together, have a stronger marriage, and be blissfully happy once they recover while she is left with the anger, the bitterness, and the hurt.

Indifference: Of course, they are some “other women” who just shrug this off. Some of them have had more than one affair and they have been through this before. They know that someone else will come along in due time and they figure that you win some and you lose some.

But no matter what the other woman is feeling, this shouldn’t matter to a wife more than what she herself is feeling. What really matters is your bottom line – your feelings, your family, your recovery. Let her go. Wish her ill or wish her well. But wish whatever and then turn your attention away from her. The more you think of her, the more you ruminate. And the more you ruminate, the more this delays your healing.  The best scenario here is that everyone is able to move on with their lives.

Like every normal wife dealing with this, I did worry and wonder about the other woman from time to time.  But I knew that this was a dead end road.  And I wanted to take a road that actually lead me somewhere that I wanted to go.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

I Feel Like Another Woman Stole My Husband Away. But My Friends Say That A Man Can’t Be Taken, He Must Willingly Leave. Is This True?

By: Katie Lersch: I find that when it comes to anger after a spouse’s affair, you tend to feel more angry at one person over another. Sure, you may be angry with both people – meaning both your husband and the other woman. But, typically the brunt of your anger is higher for one person.

For example, some wives blame their husband the most. These women sometimes don’t care who the other woman is or what she did. They feel that their husband knew better and they ultimately lay most of the blame with him, since the other woman couldn’t have known the true situation with your marriage or with your life. But your husband most certainly does.

Other people take the opposite approach and will believe that the other woman pursued their unwilling husband or somehow manipulated him to participate. A wife might say: “I know that the other woman came on to my husband. I have seen her in action. She has wanted him for years. She has followed him around at work from the first moment she was hired, always wearing her tight clothing and laughing her fake, little girl laugh. In fact, my husband and I used to make fun of her and joke about this. For years, he resisted. But recently I have had to deal with a stressful situation which has taken a lot of my time. I turned my back for an instant, and she finally got him. Not only did he cheat with her, but now he is saying that he is going to live on his own for a while to figure out which direction he wants to take his life. I am terrified that he is going to decide that he wants to be with her. And I admit that I have been calling the other woman and screaming at her. The other day, one of my coworkers walked in and overheard me giving the other woman a piece of my mind. So my friend asked me about the situation and I told her how this tramp stole my husband away. Do you know what my friend’s response was? She said: ‘a man can not be taken or stolen. He willingly goes.’ What do you think of this?”

This is an old saying that many of our grandmothers used. I understand the thinking behind it. The idea is that a woman can’t drag your unwillingly husband off and force him to cheat. She’s not physically forcing him to do anything. Ultimately, he is cheating because he wants to since he has to actively participate.  It would be very difficult for a woman to force a man to have sex with her.  At least that is the thinking behind the saying.

I do understand this and I can’t argue with it, really. But I also think that there are women out there who set a man in their sights and who relentlessly pursue him even when he has told her no over and over again.

Yes, the man is at fault if he is ultimately worn down and he gives and is unfaithful. That is his fault regardless. But, at the same time, you could argue that he never would have cheated in the first place if she had not so aggressively pursued him.

And I do think that there is a difference between a married man who went looking for an affair and one who reacted to a woman’s advances. Neither man is any less guilty. And both situations can ruin marriages. But one scenario shows prior intent and willful actions while the other does not. To me, there is a slight difference, although that difference often doesn’t matter very much when you are the wife who has been hurt. And most people come to realize that the in the end, the circumstances of the affair don’t matter as much as how you deal with it. Because regardless of how it happened, both scenarios leave you with a serious betrayal and damage to your marriage. And recovery is going to be similar in both situations.

So while I would agree that it definitely takes two willing people to cheat, I also know for a fact that there are some women who are well aware that a man is married and they relentlessly pursue him anyway. The man is no less guilty when he gives in. But the woman’s behavior is also deplorable and you can’t blame a wife for being furious.

I honestly find it hideous for one adult woman to knowingly do this to another.  But I suppose that this is another topic for another day.  My anger was directed at the other woman, but only once I got information that I didn’t know about her.  This actually set me back because I’d started to recover.  And then I made a decision that I was join going to place my focus on myself first.  I was not going to give her any more power. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How To Deal With Knowing Your Husband Enjoyed Sex With The Other Woman Or Mistress More Than You

By: Katie Lersch:  One of the biggest issues to overcome after your husband has an affair is your insecurities about sex.  In the best case scenario, your husband assures you that the sex with the other woman wasn’t as great as the sex he has with you.

In the worst case scenario, your husband is clear that he preferred sex with the other woman.  This can be a real problem when you have both committed to save your marriage.  Because no matter how much you may want to move on, anyone would be insecure about their sexuality with this ugly knowledge.

Here’s what I mean. You might hear: “I truly want to make my marriage work, despite the fact that my husband cheated on me.  But I just can’t stop focusing on the fact that the sex between them was clearly the draw.  One day, my husband and I were at counseling and this topic came up.  My husband didn’t say anything at first.  But when pressed, he blurted out how great the sex was.  I couldn’t stop myself from asking ‘better than sex with me?’  And my husband’s reply was ‘yes, much better, to be honest.’  Ever since then, we have regressed in terms of our progress. I don’t want to have sex with my husband now because I am self conscious and I know that he is comparing the two.  I am not sure that I can move past this.  I am always going to feel second best.  Some days, I feel like ending this marriage so that I can eventually find a man who thinks that sex with me is the best and all that he wants.  But then I think about my children.  And I can’t do it.  So I have committed to this marriage, but I don’t know how to move past this.”

I know that this is painful and hard.  And I also know that your inclination might be to try harder, to make yourself what you think your husband finds sexy and seduce your husband and to try to beat her at her own game.  While this is understandable, when it goes wrong, it can be devastating. And there are many reasons that it can go wrong.  You may not be ready to go there yet.  Or perhaps you haven’t yet worked through the awkwardness or you haven’t gotten to the emotional level where good sex is possible.  Trying and then having it go wrong is damaging.  Rather than forcing it, I think that there is a better way.  And I’ll discuss it more below.

Focus On Healing Your Emotions First:  I know that this may seem backward.  I know that you may feel pressured to have good sex.  So placing your focus elsewhere feels like you are only delaying things.  But I firmly believe from my own experience and hearing from others that it’s very hard to have good sex when there is mistrust or issues still between you.  It’s amazing that when you start to heal and have made indisputable progress on your marriage, almost like magic, the sexual chemistry and desire returns.  It is very hard to have one without the other unless you’re going to fake it, which is never advisable.  Wives often worry how their husband will take the delay.  Sometimes, you might be surprised to find that this actually increases his desire because it’s forbidden for now.  You don’t want to present this like it’s a punishment or like you can’t have great sex.  You just want to present it as it’s the natural progression of things, which is going to give you the best chance to save your marriage.  Your counselor can likely help you with this.

Learn Some New Skills To Boost Your Confidence:  Frankly, I have heard from many men on this topic and most of them agree that confidence and enthusiasm are sexy.  It’s very hard to have great sex when you don’t believe it’s possible or when you fear that he really doesn’t want to be there.  You have to know that he wants to be there.  You need to feel that he’s lucky to be with you.

Quite honestly, I have come to believe that good sex is a skill that you can learn just like being a good cook.  Like anything else, it takes practice, but it can be honed.  There are techniques and tricks you can pick up that might shock and delight your husband.  And make it so that you no longer worry that he is comparing the two of you.  Because it will be obvious that he is right where he wants to be.  And as this happens, your confidence will increase and things will get better and better.  This cycle feeds on itself and that is to your benefit.

I know that your self confidence is low and that this is very difficult.  But it is possible to turn this around.  You have to believe in yourself and you have to know that you are good enough.  With a little work and healing, it’s possible to have the confidence that he is lucky to have you.   I finally got there.  It did take work.  It did take me learning new things and going outside of my comfort zone.  But in the end, that was to my benefit.   There’s more detail about this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

What A Spouse Should Do To Prove He Wants To Stay Together After An Affair

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from people who deeply regret cheating on their spouse and who would give virtually anything if their spouse would give them any hope at all that they could stay together. Some of the time, the faithful spouse refuses to believe that there in any logic in a person cheating on them and then immediately begging to stay together. As a result, the cheating spouse can be left grappling for ways to prove that he is completely sincere in his desire to stay together.

I can hear from both wives and husbands. But as an example, I might hear from a husband who says something like: “as soon as my wife saw a picture of the other woman, she shut down on me. I mean, she was furious when she found out about the affair and she even stayed with her mother for a couple of weeks. But when she came home, she said that she would consider trying to work it out. But she stressed that she wasn’t making any commitments and that she could change her mind at any time. I didn’t pressure her. I was just so happy to see her come home. We gradually started to talk about the affair more and more. It started to look like we were making some progress. Then, she asked to see a picture of the other woman. I had deleted everything from my phone, but I pulled up a facebook photo. My wife went ballistic. Because the other woman is younger. And she is very pretty. This seemed to bring out every insecurity that my wife could ever have – about her age, about her looks, about her body, and about my commitment to her. I admit that the other woman is pretty. But now I don’t feel anything but regret and shame when I look at her. I prefer the way that my wife looks. I prefer my wife to anyone else. I try to tell my wife this, but she refuses to believe me. She won’t believe that in her words I ‘would rather be a with a middle aged woman I have already cheated on than a hot young thing.’ She may not believe it. But it is true. I want the real deal – real love – with my wife. But now I’m afraid that I will not ever get that chance because she does not truly believe that I want to stay together. I believe she thinks I’m only begging her not to leave so I won’t lose money in a divorce. What can I do to make her believe me?”

I am a firm believer that you can not “make” anyone do anything. And you shouldn’t try to force someone to feel or do something, especially in a loving relationship. But there are behaviors that you can exhibit and things that you can do to encourage your wife to start to trust in you again. I will list some of them below.

Give Her More Of What You Have Been Holding Back On All Along: Husbands sometimes ask me what type of gift they should buy their wife after an affair. This usually shows me that they are on the wrong track. Unless you have a history of being stingy with money, buying your wife something isn’t likely to hit the mark. Anyone can throw money at a problem.  There is no real emotion or vulnerability there. You want to give her something that you haven’t been forthcoming with before to show you that you really are trying.

For example, if you haven’t exactly been giving her your undivided attention or time before the affair, that is a good place to start. Come right home from work. Cook dinner for her or take her out. And listen intently to whatever she has to say. Make her feel really heard and really understood. In truth, she wants to feel special to you. And just spending money to buy her something doesn’t accomplish this. What accomplishes this is your putting in an obvious amount of time and effort just toward her.

This is harder than it sounds. Because when she is angry with you, it can be hard to keep right on trying to be loving and patient when it feels as if all she ever does is to push you away. It can be hard to keep picking yourself up and to keep right on trying every time she rejects you. But this is what you must do if you think that she is worth the effort

Say And Do Things To Make Her Believe That She Is Beautiful In Your Eyes: As a wife you has been through this, I can tell you why she is so mad. Part of it is that she is so hurt. And that she is doubting herself. She sees that young girl and she knows that it is hard for her to compete because no matter what she does, she can not turn back time and be that age again. She lives in a society with youth and beauty are valued greatly. She worries that since you have already cheated on her, you can’t possibly find her as alluring as the woman who you have cheated with.

If this isn’t true and if your wife has it all wrong, then you have to go well out of your way to demonstrate this to her on a very regular basis. You don’t want to overdo it so that you are saying things that sound insincere. But you want to take notice about things that you can be truthful about. If you’re suddenly noticing that your wife has the most beautiful, warm smile, then you want to tell her that. You want to really look at her and you want for her to see genuine appreciation on your face.

Here’s the truth. We can generally tell when you are faking it. We may have our doubts, but honestly, they are mostly based on ourselves and our worries that we are not good enough.

But, if you keep delivering the message, we may begin to believe what you are saying when we begin to feel better about ourselves. And this leads me to my last tip. Encourage your wife to do anything that helps her to feel good about herself. Now, you have to be very careful here. If she says she needs to lose weight, you don’t want to whole heartedly agree that she should go on a diet. You always want to tell her that she is beautiful to you. But, you also want to encourage her to be free to do whatever she feels is necessary to feel confident in herself. This may include counseling, improvements in appearance or clothing, or anything else that may seem silly to you but may be a big deal to her.

Because the better she feels about herself, the more likely she is going to be to love herself so that she can believe you when you tell her that she is lovable and that you want to stay together. I know this first hand.  I had to work on myself before I could believe that my husband truly still loved me.  And his support while I did this was invaluable and noticed.  If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How To Find The Right Time To Ask Questions About Your Spouse’s Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I know from experience that sometimes in the aftermath of an affair, talking about that dreadful event over and over is probably the most excruciating thing that you can imagine. There are explanations that you don’t want to hear because they are going to give you images that you can’t can’t chase out of your mind. Sometimes, you wish that you wouldn’t continue to have these nagging questions that need to be answered. Because honestly, sometimes you think it would be kinder not to know the answers. The problem though, is that the questions won’t let you alone. They nag you – even when all you really want is to get your peace of mind back. And so you finally bring them forth and you approach your spouse. But he just gets annoyed, frustrated, or angry. Because the truth is that the questions are no fun for him either. And he too wishes that the questions would just stop.

The thing is, if us faithful spouses could stop the questions from popping into our head, we most certainly would. But we can’t. They dog our sleep. They interrupt the rare moments when we find peace. So we must ask the questions, but when we do, we are put off, hushed up, and told that we need to tone it down. So the question becomes how do we find that time when we can get our answers so that both ourselves and our spouse can walk away relatively unscathed?

For example, I might hear from a wife who says: “I fully admit that I am full of questions about my husband’s affair. He has tried to answer many of my questions. But sometimes, after I take a little bit of time to digest what he has said, it doesn’t make sense to me. So I will want clarification or I will want to follow up. But when I try to do that, he gets angry at me and says he feels as if he is going to get the third degree for the rest of his life. So I will wait to ask again when things are good between us and then he says I am intent on ruining the mood. If I wait to bring it up when we are arguing already, then it only makes it worse. How do I find a good time to get my questions answered? Because I feel like I can’t rest until I have complete and total answers.”

Why Getting Your Questions Addressed Is Vital: I understand where you are coming from. And although your husband may never think that there’s a great time for him to be questioned yet again, I completely agree that you shouldn’t just give up. I know that many husbands want a break. And I know that they sometimes wish that you would give it a rest. But in truth, if you give it a rest, then you begin to shut down. You begin to turn this inward. And what happens then is this whole process damages you (and in turn your marriage) even more?

It may not always feel healthy to continue talking about this (and you do not want to dwell on it endlessly) but it is important that you have your core concerns addressed until you are satisfied with the answer or lack of one. (Because sometimes, he truly is telling you the truth as he knows it, even if it doesn’t make complete and total sense to either of you.)

Finding The Right Time: When is a good time? I don’t think that there is ever a perfect time. As this wife said, if you bring it up during good times, then you ruin the momentum and you look like a kill joy who refuses to truly allow herself to be happy. If you bring it up in an argument, you are going to be accused of always throwing it back up in his face. Here is my suggestion and I know that you may not be excited about it at first. But it came to work for me better than anything else.

Come up with an agreed upon time where you can discuss it. Perhaps it’s Tuesday nights or Saturday mornings or whatever time where you are together and can both be calm without interruptions. It also helps hugely if you can set a time limit on it. I know that this might seem unfair to you at first. But it’s important. It forces both of you to give undivided attention because you know that you only have so much time. Plus, because your husband knows that it isn’t going to go on endlessly, he is likely to have more patience.

Some couples have a hard time with this and they end up just agreeing to only discuss the affair in the presence of their counselor. I wouldn’t argue with this logic. Because I believe whatever works for you is valid. And I think that the most important thing is for both of you to know that the affair isn’t going to be brought up endlessly or at a moment’s notice but it is going to be regularly discussed when you still need for that discussion to take place.

As I alluded to, my husband and I did struggle with this issue also.  But scheduling time to have my questions answered worked best of all of the things that we tried.  As I began to heal, I naturally moved away from all of the questions.  But I wouldn’t have given up on them in the beginning. You’re welcome to read more about my experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Do I End The Affair Gradually? Is This A Good Idea?

By: Katie Lersch: I will admit that I’m always a little surprised when I hear from cheating spouses who are asking for my opinion on what to do to make things right. I’m usually pretty clear that I see things from the perspective of the faithful spouse. Still, sometimes it’s obvious that the cheating spouse is in turmoil over their mistake and they now want to begin to do the right thing. Some want to end the affair, but they know that it is going to cause a lot of pain when they do. So they sometimes ask about the best, and least painful way to proceed.

I might hear from a husband who says: “I know that I have to end my affair. I now know that I want to be with my wife again. I realize that I very wrongly took my marriage for granted. I want to start trying to heal my marriage as soon as possible. I haven’t told my wife yet, but I am going to. The problem is the other woman. She has convinced herself that she is in love with me and that we are soul mates. I admit that I didn’t discourage this because I got caught up in the relationship. But now I regret this and I feel guilty at the thought of breaking things off so abruptly. She’s going to think that she did something wrong when she didn’t. The truth is, I have just now only realized my mistake. There is nothing that she can do to change my mind. But I am starting to consider trying to break it off gradually in the hopes that this will make it easier for everyone. I’ve considered starting out just telling her that I can’t see her as often. And then I will just gradually start to see her less and less. Over time, it will become apparent that the relationship is cooling off and I suspect this will be easier for her to accept. Is this a good way to gradually break it off? Or, from a woman’s perspective, is there a way to do it more gradually that would be even better?”

Why You May Be Wrong In Your Assumptions: Honestly, I do understand your thinking. But there are many assumptions here that may not be correct. I’m going to talk about the wife in a minute. But for now, I’m going to focus on the other woman. The assumption was that she would accept seeing less of this man without question or complaint. There was also an assumption that she wouldn’t catch onto what he was doing and she would believe that suddenly, he had to see her less for legitimate reasons beyond his control.

Here’s the thing. The other woman often isn’t stupid. She knows that it is possible that you could end the relationship at any time because of your wife and your marriage. In fact, some “other women” have already had broken relationships where the married man ends things to go back to his wife. It happens all of the time. It wouldn’t be out of the question that she is already looking out for this. So she may well question you more than you think and, logistically, your plan wouldn’t work or be believable anyway.

Moral Considerations When You’re Trying To Do The Right Thing: Now that we’ve talk about logistics, lets talk about the morality of the situation. We all know that having an affair is wrong. But you can’t take that back. However, what you can do is begin to change your behaviors and begin to do what you know is right. And you have to know that it isn’t right to continue to lead this woman on and to continue to lie to your wife.

By trying to end things gradually, you are prolonging the relationship. And, even if you really are trying to do the right thing, and even if your heart isn’t in the affair anymore, you are continuing to lie to two people. You are continuing to betray your spouse. And you are continuing to engage in the type of behavior that you say you want to avoid.

The Reality Of The Situation: I know that you are trying to avoid pain. But in reality, you are only prolonging the pain. It is more cruel to give the other woman hope when, by your own admission, there really is none. Yes, it will hurt both your wife and the other woman. But, it is going to hurt whenever it happens. And the sooner you end it, the sooner you can begin the healing.  The longer you prolong it, the harder it is going to be.

It is a pretty sure bet that living a lie is causing you stress. Continuing to do it for any longer than necessary just keeps the stress going. I can’t tell you that any of this is easy. It’s not. But in my own experience, the sooner you begin to move toward healing and toward doing what you know is the right thing, the better the outcome is going to be.

I would not have had a lot of respect or patience for my husband if I knew he prolonged the affair even after a change of heart.  From a wife’s perspective, it is very important for her to know that, once her husband decides to save the marriage, he ends things completely and at once.  If he’s truly clear on the fact that it’s over, then anything else just isn’t fair to every one involved.  If it helps, you can read more about our healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

I Want To Stay In My Marriage After My Spouse’s Affair, But I Just Want To Be Friends For Now

By: Katie Lersch: There is no question that an affair changes your marriage – at least in the short term. But not every one immediately considers a divorce. Sometimes, there are circumstances that preclude a divorce – like children, finances, or religious beliefs, to name only a few.

Despite these circumstances though, people sometimes want to redefine their marriage, even if they are not going to end it. Here’s an example. A wife might explain: “even though I am furious and hurt by my husband’s affair, getting a divorce never entered my mind. It is just not something that I would do. And this is because of my children. They deserve to have a father. And they deserve the quality of life that comes with two parents. If I were to become a single mother, we would struggle emotionally and financially. So I have no intention of divorcing my husband, and he knows this. But I also do not plan to continue on in my marriage as I always have. Right now, I have no plan of being emotionally and physically intimate with my husband. And I have told him as much. But he does not want to accept this. I have told him that for right now, I want to live together as friends. We will raise our children together. We will eat together. We will talk and laugh together. We will share our lives together. But I have no intention of being intimate or romantic right now. I don’t know how long this is going to last. I can’t think that far ahead. My husband says that this is a silly way to live and that he is not going to live that way forever. He acts as if I am asking him to do something odd or unreasonable. I guess he would be right if we were going to live that way forever. But I don’t know that we are. Am I wrong for wanting to take intimacy off the table for now?”

I don’t believe that you are wrong. I did the same thing. I was not ready to resume that aspect of our relationship for a while. We needed to heal our relationship and restore the trust before I was ready for any intimacy. I’m sure my husband would have preferred not to wait as long, but he knew that we were in that position because of his decision to have an affair.

He also knew that it was not going to be in his best interest to pressure me. If he had done that, we may not still be married today.

However, as much as I defend your decision to redefine your marriage as you see fit, I have to tell you that if you just leave things to chance, this may drag on or not end as you want it to. In order to feel right about the physical or romantic part of your relationship, you have to feel right about the emotional side of your relationship. This means exploring why the affair happened and then not only addressing but fixing those issues. It means working tirelessly to restore the trust. These things don’t always happen on their own – even with time. You have to be very proactive about them.

You may not be ready to even think in these terms.  But one day, you likely will be.  And when you are, don’t be shy about getting help if you need it. Sometimes, counseling or self help can at least keep you on track and point out places where you need to direct your attention.

It’s OK if you want to think about that much later. But over the long term, you might find that you deserve better than living in a friendly relationship with your husband. I understand wanting to take it slow and to take intimacy off the table. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with that initially. But that plan is probably not workable in the long term. Because it’s doubtful that either of you is going to be satisfied with it. In order to have confidence that he is not going to cheat again, you’re going to want to know that he is where he wants to be and that you are both content and getting your needs met in the relationship.

Of course this does not need to happen immediately. And you have every right to set the pace and to take things slow. But you want to have an eye toward healing eventually. Because you deserve more than this. I applaud you putting your children first and finding a way to keep their parents under the same roof for their benefit.  I did the same.  But I also wanted to demonstrate a truly healthy marriage.  And if you work on healing your marriage, you can have that. It does take time. And there is no need to rush. Hopefully your husband will come to understand that it is to his benefit to be patient.

I’ve never regretted making my kids a priority after my husband’s affair.  I still firmly believe that they were better off with two parents, even if we struggled immediately after the affair.  I am proud that my husband and I are able to offer them a united family because neither of us had that growing up.  And we both know that there was a void in our childhoods because of that.  If your kids start out as your motivation to heal, that’s perfectly fine.  But you don’t want to have a kid-based marriage for your whole life.  Eventually, you want to be able to give and receive love.  You deserve nothing less.  You’re welcome to read more about my own journey on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

I Had An Affair And My Spouse Says I’m ‘Not Sorry Enough.’

By: Katie Lersch: It’s very normal for both spouses to have trouble effectively expressing their emotions after the affair.  Sometimes, it is hard to say what you mean.  Other times, it’s easy to feel defensive since the faithful spouse might be lashing out and saying hurtful things. That’s why in this atmosphere, it can be very common for the faithful spouse to feel as if the cheating spouse is ‘not sorry enough.’

Someone might explain it this way: “I need to get this out of the way immediately.  I am extremely sorry about cheating on my husband.  There is no real excuse for it.  I would take it back if I could.  My marriage was under a tremendous amount of stress because of finances.  And I don’t really respect the way that my husband handled it.  As a result, our marriage wasn’t great and I was mad at him.  So when someone at work started listening to me, telling me everything was going to be OK, and sympathizing with me, well that was what I was wanting from my husband and not getting.  So I guess I found that irresistible.  And I cheated.  And just as I was feeling very guilty and about to break things off, my husband caught me.  I swore to him that I was going to end things the very next day, but he didn’t believe me.  So I ended it on the phone right in front of my spouse.  And I explained why I cheated and I cried right in front of him for hours.  Sobbed actually.  And I promised that if he gave me the chance, I would be the best wife imaginable.  He explained that he couldn’t give me an answer right away, but said that he wouldn’t leave or divorce me immediately.  I waited weeks for him to come to a decision.  And now he’s telling me that his decision is that he is not sure that he wants to be with me because he does not feel that I am ‘sorry enough.’  He says that he doesn’t feel that my remorse is genuine and that I am not sorry that I cheated and broke my marriage vows, but I am just sorry that I got caught.  This just isn’t true and I have told him this. But he says I’m just wasting my breath because he’s been watching me very closely and he is not seeing true and genuine sorrow.  I honestly do not know what more I am supposed to do.  Fall to my knees?  Carry on?  Wail and sob?  I mean, I have cried.  I have cried so much I am all cried out.  I did talk to him from the bottom of my heart.  But every time I do this, he doesn’t seem to believe me.  So I’m at a loss.”

I understand this from both sides.  Although I was the faithful spouse and I had similar doubts about my own husband,  I hear from many unfaithful spouses who are going through exactly what you are going through right now.  So, in this article, I’ll try to explain why you are seeing the doubt from your spouse – as someone who has felt the same thing – and I’ll offer some tips on what I think is probably the most effective way to deal with this.

Why Your Spouse May Not Think You’re Sorry Enough: I honestly believe that somewhere deep down, your spouse would truly love to believe what you are saying.  In my own case, I would have been ecstatic to believe that my husband was as sorry as he claimed and that, in time, we could pick up the pieces.  What kept me from just allowing myself to believe this?  Fear.  It is as simple as that.  Knowing that your spouse has cheated hurts you so badly.  It is a pain that you never want to repeat.  And you just can’t help remembering what happened to you the last time you trusted your spouse – you were hurt beyond belief.

So you might be listening to your spouse’s words with longing.  You truly want to believe him.  But in the back of your head, your ego is saying: “watch out.  Your spouse is lying to you to get back in your good graces.  She only wants for you to let your guard down again.  You’d better be careful or you will have your heart broken again.”

Do you see what you are up against?  The fear to trust.  The fear of being hurt.  The fear of being fooled again.  So your spouse is putting up emotional walls to protect themselves.

So How Do You Get Around A Spouse Who Doesn’t Think You Are Sorry Enough?:  I know that it is tempting to become frustrated with your spouse and to try to talk until you convince him.  You might want to tell him that you are doing everything that you know to do and that he is only trying to punish you.

In my experience, this doesn’t work. This may instead make him feel misunderstood and pressured.  Instead, you might try saying: “I know that you don’t think that I’m genuinely sorry, but I am.  I just don’t know how to express it so that it rings true for you.  I understand why you have trouble believing me.  You have every right to your doubts.  But I’m not going anywhere.  I have no problem waiting until you are more comfortable.  I’d love to go to counseling to help us iron this out if you’re willing.  Otherwise, I will just wait until you feel that you’re open to moving forward.  But I can’t say it enough.  I am truly and genuinely sorry.  I wish there was a way to make you believe me right now.  But I am confident that in time, you will see that I am genuine. And that I am patient.”

So this lays the foundation, but then you have to back it up with action.  You have to be loving, patient, sincere, and supportive.  You have to be accountable and reassuring.  Over time, your spouse will likely come to see that try as he might, he just couldn’t shake you and you stood firm in your commitment to him and your marriage.  And that is probably the best indicator of remorse that I can think of.

My husband eventually gained my trust and my willingness back by having loving patience.  He just waited me out.  He told me he understood my concerns and loved me enough to wait.  He said he deserved everything that he was experiencing.  But he valued our marriage enough to not go anywhere. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Do Wives Survive When Their Husband Confesses To An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:  Much of the time, we underestimate ourselves.  We look at people facing hardships with dignity and grace and we are full of admiration and awe.  We are proud of them.  We wish them well.  But we also secretly think that we could never handle obstacles or struggles in the same skillful way.  And we are secretly glad that we are not dealing with similar circumstances.

Until we are.  I have to be honest and tell you that I thought infidelity was always going to be something that happened to someone else.  Sure, I’d had beloved friends and even family members struggle with infidelity.  I knew that it happened to good people in good marriages.  And I’d seen a lot of the wives eventually rally and triumph.  But I thought that I could never do that.  And I hoped that I’d never have to.

Of course, it should be obvious by now that I did have to deal with it.  And I know that I’m not alone in my thinking.  Because I get a lot of correspondence from people who ask me how in the world you get through this.  I hear from mothers whose daughters have just learned of a husband’s affair and who are deeply concerned.  They say things like: “my daughter is not a resilient person. I worry that she is never going to recover from this. I worry that she will never see her own worth ever again because of what this selfish man has done.”

Or, I will hear from a wife who says: “I feel so broken because I just found out my husband has been having an affair.  I know that there are women who survive this or even recover from it.  But I am not one of those women.  Those women are better than me because I know that my life is never going to be the same.  How do these wives bear it?”

Well, I can try to articulate this as best as I can.  And, I understand this mindset because I had it.  I too thought that I would never move past infidelity and that it would forever define me and my marriage.  But it hasn’t.  And I have more than moved past it. In fact, I believe that in many ways I am stronger and better. The key?  You use it to fuel you and not to beat you.

I am not going to tell you that it was a smooth process.  I struggled greatly at first.  I felt worthless. I pitied myself.  I thought that I didn’t offer much to myself or to others. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that I couldn’t afford to think this way. People depend on me.  My children.  My employer.  My friends.  My family.  My colleagues.  It was one thing to let down myself by not believing I had it in me to rally back.  But it was something else to let down the people who I cared very much about.

And so I let my strong emotions fuel me instead of letting them stop me.  I made some decisions.  I decided that my children would never pay the price for my husband’s infidelity.  They would not have an unsure mother who didn’t look people in the eye.  They would not have a mother who was fearful and afraid.  They would not have a mother who was not going to model believing in yourself.   I decided that I wasn’t not going to be less than I knew that I could and should be because of what someone else did.  And I decided that I wasn’t going to be knocked off balance due to something that I did not do and could not control.

Now we all know that it is easy to say these things.  But it is harder to carry them out.  Dealing with an affair saps your confidence, your energy, and your determination.  It is a process to get these things back.  But you get them back by actively working on this.  You fake it until you make it. You take inventory as to what is sapping your strength and you address those things so that they no longer drag you down.  You ask yourself what you are managing to do well and you do more of it. You seek help when and if you need it without the slightest bit of shame. And you are gentle with yourself when you struggle.

I suppose my answer to the question of “how do women survive when their husband confesses to an affair” is that they just pick themselves up because that is what they have to do.  What is the alternative?  To be wounded and broken over something that you didn’t do?  To struggle when you are not the one who made the mistake?  That wouldn’t make a lot of sense, would it?

No, instead you figure out what is standing between you and emotional health and happiness and you address those things – with the help of a professional if you need to.  And you keep reminding yourself that although your circumstances might have changed, you have not.  You did nothing wrong.  And like anyone else faced with challenges in life, you keep moving forward because doing otherwise is letting yourself – and those you love – down.  You rise to the occasion because doing otherwise isn’t fair to you or to anyone else.  And because you still deserve the best life that you can provide.

Use these struggles and this pain as fuel.  If you need to use your anger as fuel or you need to “show him” how strong you can be, go right ahead.  Use whatever motivation works.  And keep right on going.  When you have to take a step back, realize that you will rally again.  Be kind to yourself.  None of this is your fault.  And I don’t believe that any woman needs to think that she can’t move on because of this.  You absolutely can. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Do Husbands Feel After They Tell Their Wife About Their Affair? Can You Trust Their Reaction?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often have people ask me how men feel when they are caught cheating.  And this is usually the way that it happens – that they are “caught” because the wife gets suspicious and she begins to snoop a little and finds evidence of infidelity.

Occasionally though, a spouse will show some courage and integrity and they will confess everything and come clean before the wife has any inkling or proof that something is wrong.  Many of these confessions bring about a lot of tears and apologies.  It can be hard for the faithful spouse to process this at the time of the confession. Because you’re so shocked and hurt by what he is saying, that, at the time, you can’t even think about his tears. It usually is not until later that you start to remember his sad reaction and ask yourself if it was real or just an act.

A wife might ask: “how does a man really feel when he tells his wife everything about the cheating?  Because quite frankly, my husband made a fool of himself.  He is a pretty stoic person in general, but when he told me he had been cheating, he could barely get out the words.  He was crying and carrying on and his nose was running uncontrollably.  I was almost embarrassed for him. We’ve gone through hard times before but I’ve never seen him act that way.  He could barely assure me that the affair was over because he kept choking on his words and sobbing. I was telling a friend of mine about this and she said that it was all an act.  She said that men just act sad and guilty so that we will feel sorry for them.  But she said that if there were any real guilt, he would not have cheated in the first place.  Is she right?”

At the risk of sounding like I am defending husbands who cheat (and I promise that I am not,) I don’t think that your friend is right for every situation.  It varies from marriage to marriage or from man to man, at least in my opinion.  Are there some husbands who will put on a fake display in order to gain your sympathy and in the hopes that you won’t be too hard on them?  Of course there are.  Without any doubt.

But I do hear from a good deal of men who ask about the right way to tell their wife about the affair and I can tell you that they seem incredibly sad, sorry, guilty, and filled with anxiety.  And they wouldn’t have any need to put on any sort of display for me because I do not know them or their wives.

Horrific Guilt And Shame:  I find that many men say they want to confess not only because they know that it is the right thing to do and that they want to save their marriage, but because they just can not take the guilt any more.  They would rather own up to their actions and take the consequences than to not be able to look in the mirror or sleep at night because of the guilt.

Also, you might be seeing some shame in those tears.  Many men are deeply ashamed of themselves and fully aware that this is a mistake like no other that is going to inflict a very special type of pain that is extremely hard to erase.

He May Hope That Honesty Might Matter To You:  Knowing the consequences of telling the truth, some cheating husbands go forward and confess anyway.  Why?  Many of them say that they now realize they want their marriage, but they know that this isn’t going to be possible with this big lie just waiting to be discovered. So they want to start out with a clean slate and a clear conscience in the hopes that their being honest will matter to you and will count for something.

With Some Effort, You Might Be Able To Feel A Taste Of What He Is Feeling Right Now: It may help to recall a time when you made a mistake that you knew was going to be a disaster and you had to confess it.   We’ve all done something like this – whether it is betraying a friend, messing up horribly in our jobs and having to confess our costly mistake, or confessing about wrongdoing in some other aspect of our lives.  Many of us will try to find another way because we know the confession is going to hurt.  But we know it is the right thing to do and so we do it, but it is painful.

I can remember several examples of this from telling my mother that I snuck out of the house and wrecked her car from confessing to a boss that I mixed up important documents that were going out to clients and would soon be discovered.

In every instance, I cried.  I blubbered.  I was ashamed and embarrassed and exposed.  We have all had these instances in our lives.  We can all remember something like this.  Now multiply that feeling.  Because the description that I gave above is very similar to what cheating husbands recount.  And he knows that his mistake is like no other.  He knows there is no erasing it and he knows it was made toward the most important relationship in his life.

To be fair, I am not a man who has cheated.  So I have never felt this exact thing myself.  But I do think that I have a good idea.  I think that we all have a good idea.  Because we have all had to confess embarrassing and shameful things we have done that we wish we could take back but now have to take responsibility for.  And this feels awful.  I hope that this has given you some insight into how your husband might have felt.

Frankly, shortly after I found out about my husband’s affair, I didn’t care how badly he felt.  I hoped he felt awful and ashamed.  But in time, I learned that in order for us to move on, we were both going to have to heal and try to move past the bad feelings.  There’s more about that on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com