By: Katie Lersch: Many wives struggle with multiple doubts after their husband cheats or has an affair. This is especially true if their husband abruptly decides to end the affair in order to stay with them. Even the most confident wife often can not help wondering why he did this. She wants to know what would motivate him to leave a relationship that was so alluring that he would risk his marriage for it in order to go back to the woman he rejected by cheating in the first place. Many wives wonder if he is only staying with them out of a sense of loyalty or familiarity.
I might hear a wife say: “my husband had an affair with a younger woman from his job. He had a work function to attend right after I found out about the affair so of course I insisted on going with him. He was fine with this because he insists that the affair is over and that he is only motivated by his wish to save our marriage. At the party, there was a large mirror behind the buffet table. I was in the buffet line while the other woman was about six people behind me. When I looked up into that mirror I could see us from the same point of reference. And what I saw was not flattering to me. I keep myself in good shape. I am good looking for my age. But she is younger, thinner, and a bit prettier simply because gravity hasn’t taken hold yet. If I am being honest, when I looked at us and compared us, I have no idea why my husband would stay with me. I wonder if he is only staying with me out of a sense of loyalty. I have stood by him through some very hard times. I have supported him early on in our marriage when he was trying to better himself. I have always had his back and I wonder if that is why he is not walking away now. While I’m glad that he chose me, I’m not sure if I want him if he’s only with me because of loyalty. I want a husband who wants only me and thinks that he is lucky to have me. How can I find out why he is staying? I don’t want to ask him in the event that he hasn’t even thought of the loyalty angle. I don’t want to put that in his head if it isn’t already there.”
I don’t want to discourage you from asking your husband about his motivations, but before you do that, I’d like to give you a few things to consider.
First of all, what you are feeling is completely normal. And this is true even of the most confident women who know that they are attractive and capable. It’s normal to question why your husband would suddenly change his motivations so dramatically. I’m not a cheating man, but I do hear from many of them. I have my theories as to why they stay. I can’t tell you that none of them stay out of a sense of loyalty or familiarity. I suppose both of these things could factor into the equation. However, even if they did, I’m not sure why this would be an entirely bad thing. Because a history is something that you absolutely have on your side and it is something that she absolutely can not take away. He knows what he is getting with you and he must find some comfort in that. Or he would not want to stay.
I’d like to make another point. It’s my belief that if I man absolutely did not want to stay with his wife, he wouldn’t. I don’t believe that a man would force himself to do something that is distasteful to him for the rest of his life even if he had the most loyalty in the world.
The truth is, most men who dialogue about this will tell you that they went back to their wives because they realized that they made a huge mistake. They realized that they risked a perfectly good thing for something that was fleeting and was more about their own insecurities than about their wife and their marriage. Once they realize this, they often hope that they are not too late with this realization. Sure, they may feel loyalty to you, but this usually is not their primary motivation. Their main motivation is usually trying to fix the mistake that they are now fully aware that they have made.
I understand the doubts. I struggled with them for a long time. But I eventually decided that the doubts provided more of a threat to my marriage than the affair, which was over. And the reason for this is that I was letting the doubts impact and damage my marriage over and over again.
And that is why I strongly encourage you to do whatever is necessary to increase your confidence and decrease the doubts. Now, time will help with this. But it’s often not enough. You often have to be very proactive. If something bothers you about yourself and erodes your confidence, fix that thing as soon as you can. Look for ways to show and tell yourself that you are unique and outstanding.
Honestly, if your husband didn’t think so, he wouldn’t be there. Us wives will often tell ourselves any number of things about his motivations, often at the expense of ourselves. It often never occurs to us that he is there because he decided that he wanted to be. But in my opinion, this is often the reality.
Do whatever you can to convince yourself that he is lucky to have you because you are worthwhile, brilliant, and beautiful. Everyone has trouble believing this about themselves, especially after an affair. But I feel, from my own experience, that you almost have to make it your job to convince yourself of your own worth. You can read about my own process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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