By: Katie Lersch: It’s often assumed that a man’s cheating is not always that much of a surprise to the wife and to those who know the couple well. People often assume that there were warning signs or that the husband has long been complaining about his marriage and the wife refuses to listen until ultimately, the husband choses to seek solace elsewhere.
This is the assumption, but it isn’t always the truth. Some husbands never utter a word of discontent before they cheat. A wife could explain it this way: “I suppose I’m dense, but I never would have expected my husband of cheating. It floored me. Not only did I not see it coming, but I would not have imagined that it ever would come. My husband has been acting normally. And perhaps I am naive, but he seemed very content with our marriage. Our neighbors are dealing with infidelity. And for about eighteen months before he actually cheated, the husband would bad mouth his wife and his marriage every chance he got. His cheating wasn’t surprising to any of us, including his wife. My husband has never bad mouthed me or our marriage. If anything, he compliments both and says how lucky he is. Now, I see this as a slap in the face. Because I feel like all the compliments and the lack of complaints were all meant to cover the fact that he was a potential cheater. Is it normal for a man who never complains about his marriage to have an affair?”
Honestly, there is no set pattern or clues for a man to exhibit before or while he cheats. Some men are actually more loving while carrying on an affair. And some are very cold so that the wife knows that something is very obviously wrong. Some are very vocal about what is wrong with their marriage because they are looking for changes in the hopes that they will not cheat. And some never say a word.
Some, quite frankly, are not unhappy. People almost always assume that cheating only happens in unhappy or unstable marriages and it is just not always true. Some men will swear that their marriage was very fulfilling and yet, the still had an affair. And the reason for this is that the affair is not always an escape from the marriage. Sometimes, it is an attempt to escape themselves, escape their low self esteem, or to escape the aging process.
Because of this, you may not hear any complaints because they do not have any. I know that this is frustrating and hard to understand. And I know that, because you didn’t hear any complaints, you feel as if your husband kept you in the dark or didn’t meet his end of the honesty bargain.
Most of us feel that he could have at least given us a warning. This was definitely true in my case. Even after what happened, I still believe that my marriage was a happy one. I still believe stress from my husband’s new job that took him away from his home and his family contributed to the affair more than our marriage ever could have.
Unfortunately though, none of this excused us from having to do the work in order to fight for our marriage. Because regardless of the way that the affair happened, or what the warning signs consisted of (assuming there were any) the healing process is going to be the same. The wife who had tons of complaints and warnings has to do the work and recover in the same way as the wife who had no warnings.
However, the wife with no warnings is more likely to doubt her own ability to see what is going on around her. And she’s more likely to beat herself up, assuming that there were signs that she just missed. As a result, she may have a harder time restoring the trust.
Please try to do everything you can to avoid blaming yourself. Sometimes, there truly were no signs and you would have only saw this if you were a gifted psychic. Sure, you will want to pay special attention to communication if you chose to save your marriage, but you did nothing wrong. And this is not that uncommon so it is not an indication that there is anything wrong with you. I didn’t have any warning signs. I am pretty astute and I pay attention. But, I didn’t see it because there wasn’t anything to see.
In our healing, one of the things my husband had to work on was really taking inventory in himself to learn when something is bothering him. Frankly, I strongly believe that often an affair is a man’s attempt at denying what is really wrong. It is attempt to run away from the painful truth. It is him not wanting to stare his doubts and his insecurity in the face. If he’s not going to show it to himself, how is he going to show it to you?
Please don’t beat yourself up about this. It is quite possible that he didn’t complain because he honestly had no legitimate complaints. Regardless, it is better to look to the future than to the past. The affair has happened and now you have to determine where you go from here. If it helps, you can read about my own process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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