What Can I Say Or Do To Hurt My Spouse After His Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: Understandably, it is a common desire to want to share the hurt that you feel when your spouse cheats or has an affair. After all, how is it fair that you are the one going through all of the pain? Of course you want for the person who caused all of this in the first place to feel a fraction of the pain that you are feeling. And this is where the idea of trying to emotionally hurt your spouse can come in.

A wife might say: “it is bad enough that my husband had an affair. But he had it with a woman who was my friend. I loved both of them. And I feel like they are both laughing at me. I want him to feel my pain. I have said all sorts of mean and nasty things to him and none of them have seemed to hit their mark. I have told him that he is fat and bald and not a great lover. I have told him that he is not that bright. He just blinks at me, seemingly unfeeling about the whole thing. What can I say or do to really make him feel emotional pain? I wouldn’t physically hurt him of course, but I want to hurt his feelings badly. I want for him to feel unsure about himself. I want for him to be very sorry for what he has done. So what should I do or say?”

I understand this feeling and I’m not going to tell you that you are wrong to feel it. I felt it too and I suspect most wives have felt this. But here is what I know to be true. The more you fling about the bad feelings and try to hurt, the more the hurt just comes back to you. And the more you experience the painful feelings that you are trying to make go away.

Am I trying to tell you that your husband doesn’t deserve every bad and remorseful feeling that comes his way? Nope, I’d never attempt to do that because I generally do not have much sympathy for cheating husbands, considering my own experience with that.

But, much of the time, when you say or do things meant to “pay him back” or wound him, he is only going to build up his defenses against you so that your efforts affect him less and less. The result is that you feel a ton of frustration in addition to your pain. It’s just an entire loss with no upside.

So what do I suggest you do? Well quite frankly, your husband likely already feels pretty badly, even if he isn’t showing it to you. Deep down, people who cheat know that they are letting every one down. They know that they aren’t acting with integrity.  They know that they are stooping to deplorable levels.

When you continue to drive the obvious point home, they actually become defensive. And this actually makes them feel somewhat justified, which means that they can feel less badly than they originally did. Honestly, your husband is more likely to feel hurt and remorse when he can feel empathy for you. And he is much more likely to feel empathy for you when you aren’t actively trying to hurt him.

I know that this all seems very counter to what your first inclinations are telling you. But a man is much more likely to regret cheating on a woman who has done nothing to deserve it and who is conducting herself with respect than a woman who is trying to hurt him. He’s likely going to eventually feel that the hurtful woman actually deserves it.

You have to remember what you really want. Ultimately, you want to feel better as soon as you can. And you want for him to be sorry for what he did to you. Taking the high road is the fastest, safest, and best way to get both objectives while not allowing him the luxury of thinking that your behavior now means that you deserved his actions.
This probably isn’t what you want to hear. But to answer the original question, the best words to say to get a reaction out of him are no words at all. Once you’ve said your peace, stop. He already knows how you feel. He knows what he has done. Don’t allow him to justify his actions. Don’t feed into the negative process.

I am not going to tell you that I never said hurtful things to my husband.  I most definitely did. But I eventually realized that I was only keeping the hurt churning.  So I stopped and this helped me turn the corner. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Do I Know That My Husband Is Sincere In Wanting To Save Our Marriage After His Affair?

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes hear from wives who admit that their husband is seemingly doing and saying the right things after his affair. Even so, the wives often have a nagging little feeling that they just can’t shake which is asking them if their husband is really sincere about everything that he says. Often, they really want to believe that they can trust and believe in him. But, despite this, they can’t help but have their doubts.

I recently heard from a wife who said: “I caught my husband cheating on me last month. Turns out, the affair had been going on for about three weeks. He immediately apologized and begged for my forgiveness. Not only did he agree to go to counseling, but he found the counselor and made the appointment himself. He’s doing and saying all the right things. He’s constantly telling me how sorry he is and how he’s going to make this all up to me if I will just give him the chance. But, I can’t put my finger on what is bothering me because in the back of my mind, I can’t help wondering if he is really and truly sincere. It’s almost too perfect and too rehearsed. Sometimes, despite everything that he is telling me, I will watch him when he isn’t aware that I am looking. And I will see this sort of faraway look on this face which I suspect means he’s thinking of her. I almost feel like he’s trying to make me believe in him so I will let my guard down and he can then see her again behind me back. I suppose my question is how do I know that he is really sincere when he’s says he’s sorry, that he’ll never cheat again, and that he wants to save our marriage? How do I know that he isn’t just telling me what I want to hear so that he will have the all clear to do what he wants to do on the sly?” I’ll try to answer these questions in the following article.

Take A Look And See If His Actions Match His Words: Sometimes, wives don’t understand why they have that nagging little feeling that makes them doubt their husband’s sincerity until they begin to put 2 and 2 together. In other words, are his claims and his actions in alignment? For example, is he telling you that you are the love of his life and that he would do anything for you but then when you are together, he’s not showing you the physical affection that would back this up? Or, is he insisting that you can trust him only to be showing up late sometimes or contradicting himself on little things which might add up to big things? Is he telling you that he’s so deeply sorry for cheating but then getting defensive or even dismissive when you ask him questions about the affair?

All of these things will give you little clues that what he’s saying and how he really feels might be two different things. Now, sometimes a man can be very sincere in his words but he may not know the best way to carry out intentions in actions. Men can be very uncomfortable and awkward when it comes to thinks like discussing their feelings and motivations or agreeing to counseling. A lack of these things do not necessarily mean that he’s not sincere or that he doesn’t love you. But, if you are seeing more than a few of this contradictions, then it may be time to pay attention.

Signs Of A Man Who Is Sincere About Saving His Marriage After He Had An Affair: It goes without saying that all men are different. But there are often tell tale signs they will give off when they really are sincere about saving your marriage. One of the first things to look for is their agreeing to some type of counseling, help, or at least some resources to make them understand why they acted as they did and what they can do to keep it from happening again. I am being very honest when I tell you that this process can be awkward, embarrassing, and painful. It’s just not a lot of fun to examine your every thought and motivation, especially when you are the one who messed up. But a man who truly wants to save his marriage is often willing to do this because he knows that it is likely to help him get what he wants – which is his wife and his marriage back.

Also, a man who is sincerely sorry and motivated to save his marriage will often be very accountable. He fully realizes that his situation is the direct result of his own actions and no one else’s. You’ll sometimes have to pay particular attention to the man who says “yes, I cheated and I’m sorry but you were never there for me” Or “you didn’t give me enough attention or affection.” The reason why these phrases are so dangerous is because they show that he almost feels justified in his actions. So that the next time he feels unappreciated or abandoned, you have to wonder if he will feel justified in cheating again. This isn’t to say that if you are seeing this in your husband that he can’t be rehabilitated or made to understand the mistake in this type of thinking. But, this is a warning sign.

Another thing that you want to look for is patience and lack of defensiveness. A man who knows that the affair was all his fault is going to be willing to face up to your disappointment and anger rather than making you out to be the bad guy or implying that your reaction or feelings are not warranted. That’s not to say that he’s going to enjoy your angry words and actions, but he’s not going to turn them back on you as if you are at fault because of his belief and knowledge that he is the one at fault.

It Can Be Difficult To Identify Sincerity In The Early Stages Of Recovery: I would like to make one final point. Often, it is your husband’s long term actions that are going to be the best indicator of his sincerity. Men can and will say anything after the affair is first discovered when everything is fresh. But eventually, dealing with these issues get very old when you are not 100 percent committed to your wife and your marriage. And if a man really wants to be with the other woman, he will usually only hold out so long before his true colors begin to come out.

On the other hand, a man who sincerely wants to save his marriage is going to consistently show you the same behaviors over the long term because he is simply telling you the truth. So there is no reason for you to see any changes because his intentions and his message are always the same.

It took me a while to believe in my own husband’s sincerity after his affair. But over time, I just noticed a consistency in what he said and what he did. He hung in there over the long haul and, at the end of the day, it mattered. If it helps, you can read that very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Would A Husband Tell His Wife To Leave While Arguing About An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: There’s no denying that the time period after learning about a spouse’s affair can be extremely volatile. People say things that they later regret. They mutter things that are only meant to hurt. They spew things that they would never say during moments of calm.

And once things calm down, both parties will typically try and dissect the argument or conversation in the hopes of figuring out what their spouse might have meant by his venomous words.

A wife might say: “when I found out about my husband’s affair, I called him home. I didn’t tell him why. And I may have lead him to believe that there was an issue with one of the kids just to get him home so I could confront him. But I feel that this was justified. Because I wanted to be able to read his expressions. When I finally got to confront him, he was furious. In fact, things got so heated that he told me to get out. He told me that I should just leave. This is particularly interesting because we both own the house. It was his house when we married but he added me to the deed. So he can’t force me to leave. But I’m not so interested in the legalities of things. I’m interested in why he wanted me to leave. Does he care so little about me and our marriage that he wants me out of his sight? Does he think our marriage is a lost cause? Has he developed real feelings for the other woman and he wants to be with her?”

I’m sorry that I can’t possibly accurately answer these questions. All of us can speculate. And I can and will offer some reassurance about typical behavior after an affair confrontation. But, you usually aren’t able to get to the truth so quickly after the affair is discovered. It usually takes a while for things to calm down before the truth is revealed.

People Often Exhibit Extreme Emotions After The Affair Is Discovered: Many people posture when they’ve had an affair. They act outraged. They try to blame their spouse. They can play the victim. Do they really believe all of the things that they are trying to sell to their spouse? I doubt it.

I think that it is more likely that they are shocked and ashamed and embarrassed and are trying to dig themselves out of a hole or at the very least they are trying to come up with air. We’ve all that horrible feeling when something unexpected and awful happens and we become flustered and act in ways that we are anything but proud of. If we’re lucky, we can put it behind us before anyone notices or finds out.

But that can’t be the case when your spouse is right in front of you, trying to get a reaction and not willing to back down until you they get one. When that happens and there is no escape what do you think your spouse is going to do to make it stop?

They are going to make a stink. They are going to show anger or outrage. They are going to try to turn the attention away from themselves. And one way to do this is to ask you to leave.

Did he mean that he actually and truly wanted you to leave. I have no way of knowing that. But I’d suspect that he was trying to back you up a little bit just so he could have a moment to think and plan some sort of strategy. The whole: “you should leave thing” could have been a quick ploy to get you to say that you didn’t want to leave and were hoping to save the marriage. Sometimes, anger or nastiness is a way to try and call your bluff.

Again, you often can’t possibly know in the beginning. But you can try to diffuse the situation if you think that he’s just posturing by saying something like: “I have no intention of leaving because this is my home too in every way that matters. If I was going to leave, I would have done it before you ever got home and avoided this entire confrontation.”

With that said, I never advocate escalating the situation or getting into something where either person might lose control of themselves. If you see or feel it escalating to that level, the best thing to do at the point is to remove yourself from that situation, even if it means just talking a walk or doing something else.

You can always revisit things later when both people calm down. If it doesn’t appear that calm is going to return, then sometimes the best route to start is to use a counselor to facilitate working through it in a more calm and meaningful way. Because often, just exchanging insults doesn’t solve anything. And it makes a situation that is already very painful just that much worse.

My husband and I said all sorts of nasty things to one another after his affair.   We didn’t sleep under the same roof for a bit.  But we eventually realized that the nastiness wasn’t helping anyone.  So we changed the way we interacted with an eye toward relating in a healthier way.  And this lead to us eventually saving our marriage. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Can My Husband Really Change His Personality After An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who have made the decision to stay with their husband after he has had an affair. Many of these wives  have doubts as to whether or not this is a sound decision. They worry if their spouse is worth their trust in him. They worry that although he’s claiming that he is going to change, he won’t be able to actually do this.

A wife might explain it this way: “my husband has never cheated on me for all of our thirty year marriage. However, last month, I found out that he has been cheating on me with a woman who works at a bar he has started going to. The thing is, my husband is a huge flirt. He is a touchy feely type of person. And this has never really gotten him into trouble before because quite frankly, women were never all that interested in him. But recently, my husband came into some money and every one in town knows about this. So now of course, women are more likely to have an interest in him. The thing is, my husband has been this way all of his life – even as a child. His mother and brothers act exactly the same way. They are just outgoing people who love connecting with others.  They expect the best of people.  They are somewhat naive, I suppose.  Of course, people can take this the wrong way and think there is an interest when really, my husband is just being polite. I’m afraid that women are going to start approaching him because of his personality. I’m not saying that my husband has any bad intention with his personality, especially since this is the way he has always been. But, I think that women looking for money might use his personality to approach him. And I have told my husband as much. I have some hesitation of trying to save our marriage when I am worried we are going to keep going through this again and again. My husband says he can and will change. He says that he won’t be as friendly anymore. He says he won’t approach people that he doesn’t know well and he will be on his guard with every one. I really want to believe this. But that would require my husband to change who he is. That would require for him to change his entire personality, at least when it relates to people. Is this even possible? Can a person change his personality to keep from cheating again?”

I believe that this is somewhat possible and I will tell you why. To a certain extent, we all know someone who has implemented changes in their life due them seeing a risk in their current habits.  We’ve all seen people change their marriages, their health, and their bad habits when that thing seemed to be at risk.

For example, my mother was a smoker for almost thirty years. For the past decade, her health has been bad. Various doctors have worked with her to help her quit smoking. Nothing worked. She would quit for only a short period of time and then be right back at it, even though she knew this was significantly shortening her life span. My mother has the type of personality where she needs her crutches. Frankly, myself and the rest of my family had given up hope that my mother would ever change.

Well, one winter my mother came down with a severe case of pneumonia. Breathing become very difficult for her and this was made worse because of the shape of her smoker’s lungs. It upset my children to see her that way and to see her struggling for breathe.  In fact, for some time, we didn’t know if she would ever recover.

Well, she did recover. And once she did, she hasn’t had another cigarette – ever. Experiencing the sensation of not being able to breathe and being faced with the possibility of losing her life was the motivation my mother needed to stop a life long bad habit.

Many of us have known people who were horrible eaters and who didn’t exercise who had a health crisis and then completely changed their lifestyle. This isn’t uncommon. In essence, there is a stimulus that “scares them straight.”

I certainly think that is possible in this case. Many people change the way that they approach their marriage after an affair. Once there is the threat that the marriage might be taken away, they take much better care to not take it for granted and to treat it well.

I think it’s completely possible that the fear of losing you and the marriage could be in the back of your husband’s mind as he interacts with others. Granted, he may still have the urge to connect with others. And really, there isn’t anything wrong with this, especially since it has always been his personality. But, what has changed is that he must now become more aware of how his personality might get him into trouble and put him at risk. That is the real difference.

He’s not likely to change who he is. But he might become more aware of the consequences for how he approaches and reacts to other people. And he must become aware of how to back away when he senses that a line might be crossed. Because that truly is the difference. There are plenty of friendly and outgoing men out there (even those who have money) that don’t cheat. And the reason is that they’ve learned how to remove themselves from a situation that they know is inappropriate as soon as it crosses the line.

To me, this is at least as important (if not more so) than a person’s core personality.  I was critical of some aspects of my husband’s personality after his affair.  But after a while, I realized that, ultimately, I loved who my husband was.  And what I really wanted to change was his ability to read a situation before that situation got so far out of hand that it was too late.  You’re welcome to read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

After My Husband’s Affair, He Asked Me If I Could Ever Love Him Like I Used To. What Am I Supposed To Say To This?

By: Katie Lersch: People often ask me if they will ever be able to truly love their spouse again after an affair has rocked their marriage. It is my belief that with a good healing system and a willingness to have an open mind, the love can return to many marriages. This isn’t a good enough answer to many though. Many want to know if they will love their spouses as much or in the same way that they used to.

A wife might express it this way: “when my husband told me about his affair, he said that he assumed that I was going to leave him because he assumed that our marriage could never recover. I told him that many marriages are able to make it and that I thought it was a possibility that our marriage could make it too if we were willing to work hard. My husband’s answer to this was that he doesn’t think that I will ever be able to love him like I used to, before the affair. I don’t know how to answer this question because I fear that he might be right. But I don’t want to discourage and punish him by telling him this. I am willing to stay in my marriage with the knowledge that I won’t love him in the exact same way but I might love him a new way and I am committed enough because of my kids to see it through anyway. But I’m not sure how encouraging it would be to him to hear me say this. How should I respond to him asking him me if I can ever love him in the same way again?”

I’ll try to answer that question in depth in just one second, but before I do, I have to tell you that I am not sure that you can just assume how you are going to feel in the future. Even after our marriage was fully tested by infidelity I can tell you that years later, my love for my husband remains and it is just as strong. Does that mean I don’t ever think about the affair or that the hurt just magically went away? Certainly not. You can’t erase the past. But quite honestly, over the life of any marriage, there are going to be countless things that test your marriage. There might be money issues or job losses. You might have different personalities or one of you might become ill. You may struggle with these things. Some of them may test your marriage or change it for the worse. But none of these things need to erase your love for your spouse in the long term, especially if you pull together out of the commitment that you have for one another based on that same love.

Do you look at your spouse differently after an affair? Yes, you certainly can. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t still love him or love him again eventually and with time and with healing.

This is only a suggestion, but in your situation I might try something like: “it’s impossible for me to know how I might feel in the future and before we have even attempted to work on our marriage. But I would suspect that if we work really hard and if we restore the trust, heal, and restore the intimacy, I might love you in the same way or even more. I’ve heard of couples having an even stronger marriage after they worked to get through the affair. I can’t rule that out. But I would think that we would both have to work very hard in order to make this happen. I don’t think that we can expect for it to just magically happen without our working for it and without us doing to the work to heal. I’m certainly willing to work toward that if you are. And I am open to any outcomes. But it’s impossible for me to tell you how I might feel. With this said, I’d expect good feelings to be the product of good healing. And if that’s so, I can’t imagine not loving you, assuming we are successful in our healing. But it is going to require effort from you.”

Notice that you haven’t made any specific promise but you’ve set the groundwork that good efforts on his part might result in good feelings on yours. This isn’t making false promises in my opinion. Because I know first hand that when you are both willing to put in the time and the work, then there is no reason that you won’t have a good result in the end.

As I said, I love my husband today very much.  I can’t tell you that it’s as if the affair never happened.  You can’t erase it.  But the heal process can actually strengthen your marriage in time.  And that strengthening can bring about very strong loving feelings. You’re welcome to read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Does The Other Woman In The Affair Think That She’s Going To Take The Husband Away From His Wife?

By: Katie Lersch: Women whose husbands are having an affair sometimes reach out to me. Some of these women are considering confronting or meeting with “the other woman” and are trying to get a handle on this woman’s thought process. Many wonder if she thinks she is in love with the husband or truly believes that she has a future with him.

I might hear from a wife who says: “I am sure that I will be more furious with my husband when my mind has time to process this, but right now, I am in survival mode. I want to clean up the mess. I want to protect my family. The other woman is barely a woman, at least in my opinion. She’s quite young and it seems to me that she’s very idealistic about my husband. I have found notes to him from her and she literally dots her i’s with hearts. She talks about how she can not wait to be with him. The thing is, this woman knows my family. Her younger brother used to be friends with my son. She has been at our home. She knows that we have younger children. She knows that my husband prioritizes his family. But I guess she forgot all that or she thinks that the rules do not apply to her. When I confronted my husband about the affair, he told me that he would end it immediately but he was reluctant to talk to the woman face to face because he knew that she was going to be upset. So I told him that I would break it off. I am going to have my husband ask her to meet him and then I am going to show up in his place. I’m going to tell her it’s over. But I’m wondering what type of reaction I’m going to get. Does the other woman often think that she’s going to get the husband away from his wife? Because if that’s what she thinks, I want to make it perfectly clear that this is never going to happen.”

I can’t tell you that every “other woman” feels one way or another. It’s true that sometimes, she most definitely wants to be with the other man forever. If this means that she has to take him away from his wife and children, so be it. But, she thinks that she is in love with him and she’s not going to let a little thing like marriage stand in her way. Her ultimate goal is to get him to be married to her eventually. And by default, this means that she must take him away from his wife.  This doesn’t apply to “every one” though.  This is a generality which isn’t always true. Some of these women just want a relationship with no strings attached. Some are married themselves and they don’t want another serious relationship.

Here’s the thing, though. Regardless of which category this woman falls into, she can’t be with him or “take him away” from you, his wife, if your husband ends the relationship. In other words, she can’t take him away without his permission. And if he’s ending it, your biggest concern should be your healing as a couple moving forward. Once the affair ends, the attention should turn away from her, at least in my experience and opinion. Her wishes or intentions no longer matter.

Speaking of ending the affair, I never advocate the wife confronting the other woman and I certainly don’t advocate the wife being the one to end the affair. First of all, the other woman will have her doubts that the husband is sincere or if this is his wishes if he is not the one to tell her. The husband could simply call her and make it very brief if he had concerns about her reaction.

But the wife confronting the other woman is almost always a disaster and it often creates bigger problems than it solves. Many wives think that it is going to give them closure or it is going to allow them to put the other woman in her place. Often, the opposite happens. The other woman is rarely nice about this and she will often try to upset you by telling you imitate details about your husband or upsetting details about the affair. Really, very little good can come out of this. And it’s usually only going to delay your healing and upset you even more.  I’d strongly urge you to reconsider.  I have never seen a scenario like this one go well or give you what you want.

You don’t want for her to have any more contact with your family or any of its members, including yourself. So at least in my opinion, your best bet would be for your husband to end it with a very short conversation, possibly by phone, where your husband directly tells her that he is ending the affair because he is married. Whether her ultimate goal was to take him away doesn’t matter because he’s made that impossible. He has made his choice.

I understand wanting to understand the other woman’s thought process and motivations.  But honestly, if your husband ends the affair and the two of you move forward in healing your marriage, then her motivations won’t affect or concern you.  It’s best to place the focus on yourself at that point.  You’re welcome to read more about my own healing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Do I Know If I Still Love My Husband After An Affair. Because Right Now, It Feels Like I Hate Him

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s very common to feel very confused about your feelings when you find out that your spouse has had an affair.  On the one hand, you’re often so angry that you could do bodily harm to someone.  You’re so shocked, that you feel as if you need a second just to catch your breath.  And you’re so sad that it almost feels as if there has been a death of something very important to you.

But even despite all of our anger and other negative feelings, sometimes, in very rare and unguarded moments, we feel let down and disappointed.  And we feel this way because we are mourning the marriage and the love that we fear might be lost.  We are doing this because, despite our negative feelings, we can’t just stop loving our spouse in an instant.

Understandably though, it’s far easier to focus on the anger or hate than it is on the love.  And it’s normal to question if (or how) you can still love your spouse.  A wife might wonder if she could ever still love her spouse when it’s so easy to focus on the negativity that she is feeling.  She might ask a question like this one: “right now, I am certain that I feel nothing but hate for my husband. I can honestly say that I’m pretty sure that I loathe him.  I feel that he’s a liar with no integrity.  He acted like he loved me and that we were in a happy marriage and he was having an affair the whole time.  I told him that I didn’t want him in my sight and he is staying with friends.  And yet, I am sort of miserable here without him.  My mother says that I would not be this angry and this miserable if I did not somewhere, deep in my heart, still love him.  Could this possibly be true?  Because I don’t think that I’m stupid enough to love someone who cheated on me.  And, even if I did, how would I know? How could I see or feel the love in the midst of all of the hatred that I feel?”

What you are going through is absolutely normal. And it’s no wonder that you are having trouble sorting out your feelings when there are so many DIFFERENT types of feelings presenting themselves.

I remember that in the weeks following my husband’s affair, I could feel anger, self pity, indignance, and a wish to fight for my marriage all over the course of about five minutes.  I never knew how to react to these feelings.  At times I would lash out at my husband and I would push him away.  But then there were those rare occasions when I would want his reassurance and I would desperately want for him to chase me.

How do you know which of the feelings are real?  Honestly, I think that they are all real.  They are all presenting themselves to you because they are what you are feeling at this particular time.  I think that the more important question is which one of these feelings are you going to act on?

Frankly, I think that your mother is could possibly be right – at least partly.  I think that the strong feelings are in part occurring because you are invested in this man and in this marriage. This is understandable if you think about it.  The love doesn’t just stop because someone has disappointed us.  Sure, you may choose to turn away from that love.  You have every right to do that.  But this doesn’t mean that you don’t feel the love.  You can’t just turn it off like water from a faucet.

I think that your real question is how you will know if you want to act on that love or if you want to turn away from the love and your marriage.  Having gone through this, it’s my opinion that you often do not know this immediately.  You have to sit back and watch how your husband is acting and how much effort he is making in order to help you heal.  You also have to ask yourself whether or not, assuming that he does everything that he needs to do, you’re going to be willing to try to fight for your marriage despite what your husband has done.

Not everyone is willing to do this. Some wives fully know that they still love their husbands, but they can not get passed the affair.  And some wives feel that this same love is worth fighting for.

I can share when my feelings of love for my husband started to count more for me than my feelings of anger.  At some point during our recovery, I noticed that I started to feel empty from my anger rather than energized from it.  When I first found out about my husband’s affair, I let that energy feed me.  It sustained me because I was not open to anything else.

After a while though, that energy was draining. Sometimes, I would say unkind things to my husband out of that anger and then I would look at the lost expression on his face and I would realize that he was hurting too.  And I would look at my husband and I would realize that ultimately, we were in this together. And I’d remember all of the kind and loving things he’d done for me.  And I decided that I was not going to make a decision about my marriage based on ONE mistake when there were COUNTLESS wonderful and good things that I could base my decision on.

I knew that I loved my husband despite all of this when I made a conscious decision to put the energy back into love rather than into hate. You can read more about that on my surviving the affair blog.

My Husband Cheated And Now He Wants To Act Like the Victim

By: Katie Lersch:  I am confident in saying that in most situations, people perceive the faithful spouse as the victim – at least whenever there is cheating is involved in a marriage.  Admittedly, there will always be that minority of people who think that the wife must not have been loving or sexy enough to keep her man happy.  But, I chose to believe that most people don’t truly have these thoughts.  Most people realize that the spouse who cheats is the spouse at fault.  Because most people realize that even in struggling marriages, cheating is a conscious choice.  And it is the wrong choice.

That is why it can be so perplexing when the cheating spouse attempts to act like the victim.  This is often an attempt to elicit pity.  Or it is done in the hopes that it will make the faithful spouse a little more understanding.  But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t frustrating.

A wife might say: “my husband seemed very remorseful on the day that I caught him cheating.  He was crying and carrying on, and begging me not to leave him.  Well, two days later, that has all changed.  Now he is muttering phrases like: ‘I’m tired of you women manipulating me.  Women get to do whatever they want to a man and then when things go wrong, it is the man who is blamed.  The other woman flirted with me and told me that she didn’t want anything lasting, but of course she did.  Then when I tried to break it off with her, she became clingy and pretty much blackmailed me.  And then when you found out about the affair, you acted as if we had a wonderful marriage that was above reproach.  You acted all shocked and as if you gave me everything that I needed when you know that you didn’t.  But yet I am still the bad guy regardless.’  It is almost as if he believes that he is the one who got the raw end of the deal, as if he is the victim.  It honestly makes me sick.  How can I make him see that he is most certainly NOT the victim?”

Understanding How He REALLY Feels: I am not sure if your husband truly believes that he is the victim.  Men caught cheating often have a couple of days where they are feeling sorry for themselves (for getting caught) and they are kind of wallowing in self pity.  Very often, they have an affair at a time when they are already struggling.  They may not realize that they had the affair hoping to feel better about themselves, but this is often the reality of it.  So when everything backfires and they actually end up feeling worse about themselves, they can feel a great sense of loss and disappointment. This is real, in my opinion.  They are not pretending.

So while it may look an awful lot like self pity or playing the victim, the disappointed feelings may feel quite real to your husband.  He may or may not be looking for sympathy or understanding.  But you get to decide how you are going to receive this behavior.

Because frankly, this often comes down to one awful, unfortunate choice.  All of us deal with periods in our lives where we are let down and disappointed.  But when this happens, we can chose to deal with it positively or negatively.

Your husband made the negative choice and this will potentially hurt people that he loves.  Regardless of why he did this, he must take responsibility for this choice.  This is what most people who cheat do not understand initially.  You may feel pity or empathy for what they were going through, but their choice makes you feel anger and disappointment that is going to outweigh or cut into any pity that you might feel.

How You Feel Is Just As Important: There is nothing wrong with letting him know that you don’t intend to treat him like a victim and that regardless of how let down he feels, this doesn’t negate the choices that he has made.

There is nothing wrong with attempting to spell this out for him.  If he knows where you stand, he may realize that taking the road he’s on is not going to do him any good.  You might try: “what I am hearing is that you seem to perceive yourself as the victim in all of this.  But what you don’t seem to appreciate is that, regardless of the circumstances, you made a choice to betray me, to break our marriage vows, and then to lie about it.  And you need to take responsibility for that.  I realize that I will have to take responsibility for what might have been lacking on my end of the marriage.  I will eventually be prepared to look at that honestly, but I expect you to be prepared to look at the choices that you willingly made.  You might see yourself as the victim and I can’t change that, but I can tell you that if you want to make any leeway with our marriage, I expect you take responsibility for your choices and actions and I will do the same.”

Many men eventually lay off of their victim strategy.  They come to see that it is not working anyway.  And they also come to see that it may not matter all of that much.  The past is just that. And now the future must be dealt with.  A person may have his reasons for the choices that he has made.  But ultimately, he must live with them.  And tomorrow is what matters.  Debating who is the victim isn’t very productive.  What is productive is moving forward from here.

I think that to a certain extent, both my husband and I were lobbying for the staring role of the victim at the same time.  And it only made things worse.  What helped was both of us deciding to act like the adults that we were and deciding how (or if) to move on with our marriage. There’s more about this process on my blog at  http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Would A Cheating Husband Admit Everything To His Wife?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from women who are confused as to why a married man would suddenly come out and admit everything about an affair when this wasn’t necessary. Often, the wife doesn’t suspect anything. But for whatever reason, he feels the need to confess anyway. I often hear from both wives and “other women” with this question.

From the other woman I might hear something like: “what makes the affair so awful is that I know his wife. We are friends. We’re not best friends or even close friends. But we were friendly. I did always feel guilty about the affair, but this didn’t mean that I wanted for it to end. I am not going to say that I was thinking about marriage with this man. But I was thinking about a long term relationship. Things were going very well between us. I felt very close to him. He showed no reservations or signs of guilt. And then out of the blue, he called me and told me that he confessed everything to his wife. While we were on the phone, there was a banging on my door. It was his wife – coming over to confront me and to demand answers. Now, I’m constantly getting nasty calls, texts, and emails from this angry wife. Why in the world would he have told her?”

From the wife, I might hear something like: “seemingly out of no where, my husband confessed an affair with one of my friends. I was stunned for many reasons but mostly, I was so surprised because our marriage was actually going well. I didn’t suspect that anything was wrong. In fact, my husband and I were looking to buy a new home. Who thinks about the future in this way while they are having an affair? He says he wanted to tell me because he respects me too much to continue to keep this from me. I am wondering if he told me to hurt me but I don’t know why he’d do this. I haven’t done anything to make him want to hurt me. Why would he confess to me when he didn’t have to?”

I have my theories as to why a husband will suddenly confess. This theory is only based on my opinion that has been formed by own situation, from my research, and by hearing from others in the same situation. But here are some reasons that I believe that men confess:

He Feels Guilty And The Guilt Is Motivating Him More Than His Desire To Keep The Affair Going: People often assume that once a spouse is able to overcome the guilt of cheating, then he’s overcome his reservations and he won’t revisit the issue again. This isn’t true. The lies accumulate and so does the guilt. He starts to feel horrible every time he looks into his wife’s trusting eyes and realizes that he is continuing to betray her. So he realizes that none of this is worth it. And so he tells the truth because he knows that it is the right thing to do and he is hoping to get some relief from the guilt.

This His Way Of Ending The Affair Because He Wants Out: Some men hesitate to be honest with the other women when they want to end the affair. So they figure if they tell their wife, then it will be obvious to every one that he has no choice but to break things off.

He May Indeed Respect His Wife Enough To Quit Lying: The wife assumed that the whole “I respect you too much” excuse was only posturing. But in truth, he could be being completely upfront about this. Once the novelty of the affair wears off, men do come to realize that their spouse does not deserve this type of treatment and disrespect. And, even if they have lied in the past, the want to break that habit immediately – even if doing so might mean a lot of trouble for them.

They Want Their Marriage And They Realize That Coming Clean Is The First Step: People often assume that men who cheat are no longer invested in their marriages. This isn’t always true either. Many men who cheat will tell you that they still adore their wives and they still very much want their marriages. When they realize how much they have put this whole process into jeopardy, the first step to remedying this is to start telling the truth. Often, once the decision to confess is made, there is no need to delay. So he comes right out with it even if it is an abrupt decision.

Talking about the affair is never easy.  But the husband is right in thinking that honesty is the best thing.  There may be hard times ahead and things that you will need to work through.  But telling the truth is always better than continuing to lie and continuing to betray.

It would matter to me if my husband took the initiative to confess.  Yes, hearing the confession would hurt.  But a painful truth is better than a comfortable lie.   If it helps, you can read more about how I navigated my own husband’s affair my on blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

What Is The Psychology Or The Thought Process Of A Husband Who Claims Not To Feel Guilty About Cheating? Is He A Narcissist?

By: Katie Lersch: I wish I could tell you that all of the wives that I hear from have remorseful husbands who are willing to go to counseling to heal from the affair. That would be ideal. And honestly, that’s what most wives are hoping for.

Unfortunately, the reality is that I hear from a lot of wives who have husbands who either do not appear to feel any remorse or who are openly claiming that they feel not only no remorse, but also justification.

Almost unanimously, it is hard for wives to understand this. I find it much more rare to hear from women who cheat and do not feel guilty. Although women will often offer excuses like: “but the other man understood and appreciated me,” they are less likely to just flat out deny that their behavior was wrong.

And that is why women are often baffled at how to deal with a man who is not showing remorse. They do not understand this thought process. I think that part of this is because, as caregivers, women just naturally feel more empathy. Even if a woman understands why she cheated, she often still recognizes that she has hurt someone else and she feels badly about this.

So when a wife is faced with a husband who is claiming to feel no guilt, she can find this very hard to grasp. She wonders if she is dealing with a narcissist or someone with no conscience at all. She might say: “I honestly, waited a month before I confronted my husband about his cheating. I thought that I was going to get this awful, dramatic response where either he was overcome with anger or overcome with sadness. I honestly waited until I could not take it anymore and then I blurted out: ‘I know that you’ve been cheating on me.’ My husband didn’t miss a beat and immediately said. ‘I don’t deny it. I have been cheating. But I also have my reasons. You know our marriage wasn’t great and so you can’t really blame me. I accept that you will do whatever you need to do.’ He never offered to try to make this better. He never apologized. He just matter-of-factly explained things to me and then acted as if he could care less how I responded. There have been times when I have broken down and said something like: ‘and you’re telling me that you don’t feel bad about this?’ and then he will mutter things like all men cheat eventually and he had his reasons. I am starting to think that my husband is a narcissist. Because why else would he feel no empathy and remorse?”

First of all, I have to tell you that what you are dealing with is not rare. But it may also not be genuine. Many men will PRETEND that they do not feel guilt and remorse when in fact they are TRYING not to pretend guilt or they are POSTURING as if they do not feel guilt as part of a strategy in order to get you to back down.

Yes, by definition, narcissist are focused only on themselves. They are self centered. They do not care about the needs and feelings of others. And they think that the rules do not apply to them. If your husband were genuinely feeling all of these things, then that would not be encouraging, I admit. But you also probably would have seen this behavior long before this.

But often, men are trying to make you believe a lack of feelings that they truly don’t posses. Frankly, many men who cheat have been able to do so because they have found a way to shut down their feelings and their conscience. If they hadn’t been able to do that, then they would have a hard time cheating without being overcome by so much guilt that they would get no payback at all from the affair.

So they become experts at turning off those feelings of guilt and shame. And then you come along and seemingly insist that they overcome with these very feelings that they have been trying so desperately to push down.

When you see it from this angle, it makes sense that they are not going to be overjoyed about showing you their guilt. Instead, they are either going to deny its existence or they are going to act in a way that discourages you from discussing it.  Because believe me, they do not want to discuss it.  They do not want to feel it.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling the remorse, at least deep down. But they sure are trying to suppress it. Or they are trying to not let you see it.

So how can you get the remorse flowing? Sometimes you just have to be patient. Often, he will eventually realize that this posturing and this denial of the truth aren’t really gaining him anything. Sometimes, you can speed up this process by having someone who he respects tell him as much.

I know that you may be tempted to try to convince him of this yourself, but know that he is much less likely to listen to what you have to say because he knows that you have a very strong interest in him having remorse. He knows that you are deeply invested and focused on your own needs and wants. In short, he knows that you are not and can not be objective.

But, if say, a counselor or even a friend or author that he respected said the same thing without having any vested interest, he may be more inclined to listen. Often, the remorse does come in time when there is enough time for him to not need to be as defensive. Or when things are not so immediate that he feels the need to posture.

Although my husband showed a lot of guilt in the beginning, he backed off on this when he began to see the consequences.  My trying to push the guilt on him did no good.  He was convinced much more by third parties than from me. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com