Does A Cheating Husband Miss The Affair Excitement?

I sometimes hear from faithful wives who are worried about their husband’s feelings after he has ended his affair.  Many worry that even though their husband seems to be committed to the marriage, he is going to miss the drama and the excitement that the affair brought about.  They worry that by comparison, their marriage is going to seem boring.

A wife might say, “my husband and I have been doing pretty well after his affair.  I’m pleasantly surprised because he has been very cooperative with everything that I have asked of him.  He comes home after work.  He doesn’t go out anymore. And he hasn’t complained about this.  But I worry that he is going to see just staying home as boring.  I do know that my husband spent a lot of money on the other woman.  They went out and did things all of the time.  My husband and I have dinner together and care for our children.  So I worry that he is going to miss the excitement of the affair.  I have always thought that we had a pretty good sex life.  But sex after you’ve been married for years probably can’t compete with forbidden affair sex.  Am I right in thinking that men tend to miss the excitement when they end the affair?”

I suppose that some men might.  But others are actually relieved to let it go because it was stressful to live with that kind of secrecy and lies.  I am not a man who has had an affair, but I have spoken with (and have heard from) many of them.  Granted, because of my articles, I am probably more likely to hear from those who want to save their marriages.  But frankly, many of them are living in a sort of pretend fantasy world during the affair.  They keep the affair and their marriage separate in their minds as much as is possible.  However, once the affair is discovered, this deception and cover up can’t continue.  And that is when the husband must actually see the reality of what he is doing.  It is usually only then that the seriousness of his actions can no longer be denied.

Putting This In Perspective: Many men in this situation become extremely afraid of losing their wife and their family.  They suddenly see the affair for what is was – nothing more than pretend. And worse, now they have put their family at risk. Once a husband has faced losing his wife and his cozy, comfortable family, he can actually start to put both on a pedestal, which may be why you’re seeing him being so cooperative about staying home.

That is not to say that there aren’t some men who truly want to save their marriage, but who are also almost addicted to the affair and to the other woman.  So although they tell their wife that the affair is over and they believe that their words are sincere, this doesn’t stop them from continuing to communicate with the other person because they just can’t seem to let the whole thing go.

But that is not true of every man.  Since statistics show us that most couples actually stay together after an affair, it’s my observation that the majority of men want their wife and their marriage.   Many are happy to be participating in their family rituals again because they were afraid that they’d no longer be welcome to do so.  Because of this, many are actually happy with (and comforted by) your nights eating side by side and spending time with your kids.

Easing Your Mind: Of course, any marriage can benefit from spicing things up if you think that this might help.  After my husband’s affair, my husband and I did make a point to step outside of our comfort zones.  We traveled more.  We spiced up our date nights by agreeing that we would try something new every week.  We found joint hobbies that we could pursue together.  These things were very beneficial because it felt like we were discovering something new during our recovery and this was fun for both of us.

However, there was no way around the fact that we were parents with children.  Our family came first.  We couldn’t pretend that we were newlyweds with no responsibilities, although we did make an effort to keep things fresh.  Ultimately, neither of us were bored or felt that our lives lacked excitement.  After all that we had been through, just spending quiet nights with our family in our home felt like a privilege because there were times when neither of us were sure that our marriage (or our family) was going to remain in tact.

So to answer the original question, sure, there are some men who miss the excitement of the affair.  But in my observation, most men are relieved to be back in their family’s lives.  They realize their mistake and they realize that there is a sweetness and comfort in their family and marital history, which they take solace in.   When something that you value is put at risk over your mistake, you often are so happy to still have it, that you don’t see it as boring.  You’re just glad that it is yours.  However, if excitement is something that you worry about, there is nothing wrong with trying to spice things up so that NEITHER of you are bored or lacking in excitement.   But at the end of the day, my opinion is that denying your history isn’t necessary.  We chose to take comfort in it rather than considering it boring. You can read more about our healing (and spicing things up) at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Do Their Husbands Want Their Family Back After An Affair When They Don’t Deserve It?

By: Katie Lersch: It’s not uncommon for me to hear from wives and from mistresses who just don’t get why a man who was actively involved in an affair (for which he was willing to risk everything) will suddenly dramatically change his behavior and decide that he now wants his family back.

A common comment from the mistress is something like: “this man told me that no woman had ever made him feel like I did. He said eventually, when he could break free, he couldn’t wait to be with me forever. When his wife found out about the affair, I honestly thought this was the beginning of our lives together. But now, he’s suddenly decided that he can’t be with me because he wants his family back. Well, he should have known how committed he was to his family before he got involved with someone else. Why is he doing this?”

A common comment for a wife is something like: “when my husband told me about the affair, he actually said he was in love with the other woman and that, as much as it hurt him to say it, our marriage was over. I really didn’t want to accept this, but it was obvious that I didn’t have much of a choice. Heartbroken, I began divorce proceedings and tried to start over. Now two months later, he has decided that he wants his family back and has supposedly banished this woman from his life. Why would he do this? Why do men suddenly want back the family that they don’t even deserve?”

In truth, both women had the right to ask these questions. It can feel very unfair for a man to suddenly want to change his mind, especially when you feel as if the outcome of your own life is going to be influenced by the decisions that he makes. It can feel like you are not the one calling the shots or making the decisions in your own life and that can feel quite frustrating. Below, I’ll try to explain some common reasons why cheating husbands eventually decide that they want their families back.

When Men Decide To Pursue A Relationship Outside Of Their Family, They Don’t Realize What It’s Going To Feel Like Once They Are Without That Same Family: Often times, men get so caught up in the excitement and the newness of the affair that they believe that this whole relationship has added a new dimension or richness to their life that they don’t want to be without. So, they decide to pursue this other life or this other woman with seemingly unshakable determination. At the time, they think that they understand the sacrifices that are going to be involved. But often, they have no idea how it is truly going to feel once they hurt and then leave their families. The reality and the pain of those actions can take them by surprise.

They don’t anticipate how much they are going to miss being a daily part of their children’s lives or how much pain they are going to be in knowing how they have altered those same lives. Some men find that they even miss the wives that they were sure they had long left behind. In short, they miss being part of a cohesive family, and the excitement of an affair doesn’t begin to compare. It’s often at this point that men realize that the affair wasn’t even a product of reality. Once the husband and other woman have to begin to deal with every day things like laundry, dinner, jobs, etc., then the relationship becomes more of partnership and less of an excitement inducer. It’s often at this time that the husband realizes that he miscalculated his feelings for all involved. So often, when the affair isn’t perfect in every way, a man will start to think things like “I gave up my family for this? What was I thinking? How could I have been so stupid?”

Often, both women in this scenario are pretty clear on the fact that the man’s behavior has put his family in jeopardy and many will tell you that, because of his actions, he doesn’t deserve his family. Believe it or not, the men would often agree with this assessment. Many will tell you that they know they don’t deserve their family, but that doesn’t stop them from wanting their family back just the same. They will also often tell you that they are willing to do just about anything for one more chance. Because once they’ve had a taste of life without their family, they become so afraid of losing them for good.

I often can’t tell the women in this situation whether to allow this man back into their lives. That’s a decision that only they can make. I can tell you though that many men believe that they are being sincere when they decide that they want their families back. And many fear that it’s going to be too late to make this a reality. Yes, it would have been nice if they had come to this realization before they cheated. But unfortunately, often it takes the threat of losing something in order to fully value it. I have known men who vow to never ever put their families in jeopardy again and they have more than made good on that promise.  They have also become faithful and appreciative husbands.  However, every one is different.  And extensive healing is often necessary in order for this to become a reality.

My husband suddenly took renewed interest in our family once he almost threw everything away.  Rehabilitation wasn’t easy by any means, but it was worth it in the end because our family is solid and my children have both of their parents.  If it helps, you can read about our steps toward recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

My Husband Still Doesn’t Seem Content With Life After His Affair

Many wives whose husband had an affair will tell you that, even if they didn’t suspect an affair, they might have noticed that their husband seemed ‘restless’ or ‘fidgety’ right before he cheated.  Many people cheat as a way to bring drama into the life which they think has become stale.  The great irony of all of this is that, much of the time, the husband later realizes that in actuality, he had it all with his wife and stable family, but he potentially threw it away for something that wasn’t even real.

As a result, many husbands actually end up settling back in with their wife again.  And things can go okay for many of these couples.  But often, the wife is understandably on the look out for strange or unsettling behaviors from her husband.  One thing that she might notice and that might give her pause is the fact that he can still sometimes seem to be restless.  She might perceive that he still is just unsettled about something which neither can quite put their finger on.

A wife might say, “I did not suspect my husband of cheating on me because I never thought that this type of behavior was within his character, but I did know that something was wrong.  My husband and I used to be homebodies.  We liked spending cozy nights at home.  We enjoyed reading, watching TV, and making dinner together.  We were never people who needed a lot of drama to be content.  But before my husband began cheating, he started to complain about our cozy nights.  He started whining that we never did anything and that we’d never really traveled, or done anything notable or worth talking about.  I really didn’t feel this way at all, but I tried to listen.  So my husband started to be less of a homebody and I went along for the ride some of the time, but other times, he didn’t seem to want my presence.  He also started complaining about his job, saying that his friends get to travel for work, while he never has.  I am sure this sense of unease lead to the affair, at this in part.  It was as if my husband was trying to scratch an itch.  When I caught him, though, he seemed to almost realize what he was doing and he snapped out of it.  He said that he didn’t want to lose me and that he didn’t know what was wrong with him.  His excuse was that he was aging and getting insecure about his accomplishments.  He said that he felt like everyone else is having a better life than him.  I do understand that because, let’s be honest.  Everyone feels this way some of the time. However, when I feel that way, I don’t react by cheating.  But, I was hopeful that we could work things out and go back to our comfortable lives.  And this seemed to happen – at least for a while.  But lately, I’ve been noticing that my husband seems restless again.  It all started when he was recently passed over for a promotion at work and all of a sudden, this life is not good enough for him anymore.  He’s starting to act all fidgety again.  I called him on it because I worry that he’s going to cheat again.  He got angry at this and wondered whether I’m going to accuse him of cheating every time he is disappointed in life.  Am I overreacting with this?”

I don’t think that you are.  Many specialists agree that when a man is struggling with confidence and competency, he is more prone to cheat.  This is why many men cheat after loss, let down, or when they are struggling with something.  So it is not unreasonable of you to equate restlessness with cheating.   However, it may be more productive to try to get to the heart of your husband’s restlessness instead of just pointing it out and worrying about it.  I know that this may be a challenge because hardly anyone wants to allow someone else to analyze their behaviors and insecurities.

That is why I’d suggest getting him (and you) into counseling if you can.  It is much better for all involved if the counselor is the one questioning and directing your husband. That way, if he is angry or defensive with anyone, it can be the counselor.  Plus, often the counselor can be more objective and observant than you ever could, since you are too close to this.  If counseling can help your husband identify and remove the source of his dissatisfaction, you might find his restlessness (and his complaints) waning.  It is very common for a man who is dissatisfied with things outside of his control (like a failing career or a boss who doesn’t appreciate him) to try to regain a sense of control by blaming everything on those closest to him – like his wife and his marriage.  So, while I think it might be helpful to try to incorporate healthy things that your husband wants to do – like travel – into your life, it’s also clear that his career and job satisfaction may be outside of your control, which is why it can be helpful to let a professional direct him on the best way to remove this stressor.  Doing so which may eventually also remove his restlessness and give him a new sense of purpose.

I do agree with your concerns about the restlessness.  I’ve seen too many men make the mistake of trying to shake up their lives by having an affair when what they really needed to do was to address the complacency or the issue that is causing the restlessness to begin with.  The good news is that the restlessness, and the marriage, can be fixed. You can read more about my own journey with this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

How Do I Love My Husband Again After He Cheated And Had An Affair?

by: katie lersch: I often hear from wives who are having a hard time believing that they are ever going to feel the same way about their husband and their marriages again. Even though that many of these wives really do want to save their marriages, some doubt that this is going to be possible for them.  They just can’t foresee ever feeling love for their husband again after he cheated on them.

I recently heard from a wife who was experiencing this first hand.  She said, in part: “How do you love your husband again after he cheats or has an affair?  Because I can’t imagine that this is ever going to be possible for me.  And I can’t be married to a man that I don’t love.  But his infidelity changed my love for him.   Because when I look at him now, I see a completely different man.  He’s no longer the loyal, attentive, and rock solid man I married.  I now see him as dishonest, sneaky, and manipulative.  I don’t want to end my marriage, but I can’t see any way around it when I no longer feel love for this man.  And I feel that love and marriage go hand in hand.  Would it ever be possible for me to love him again?  Or am I just wasting my time?”

These weren’t questions that I could answer for this wife.  But I could tell her that many wives are able to love their husbands again after cheating, an affair, or infidelity.  This often isn’t an immediate or fast process, but it is quite possible.  I will discuss this more in the follow article.

Loving Your Husband Again After Cheating Or An Affair Isn’t Something That You Should Expect To Happen Immediately: I can’t help but notice that many of the wives who ask about loving their husband again after his infidelity are relatively new to this situation.  Of course, when you are newly struggling, you want to know how long you can expect for the struggles to last.  It’s natural to want to feel better and to want to get your life back to normal as soon as you possibly can.

But love is a very deep and complex emotion.  It isn’t something that can be forced or just decided upon.  It takes time for it to grow. And it takes time for it to be rebuilt once it has been tested.  In order to love someone, you must respect, admire, and genuinely like them.  You often will need to believe that they bring something to the table and add something to your life that you can not (and do not want) to get from any one else.  But, when your husband has disappointed you in this way, it can be difficult to feel this these things for him.

However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t ever feel love for him again.  Many wives do, in time.  But usually, a lot of things need to happen between today and the day that you begin to feel loving toward him again.  You will need time to observe him making good on his promises and conducting himself in a way that you can respect, respond to, and admire again.  As I’m sure you might imagine, this is a gradual process.  There may be days when you can’t imagine feeling love again for your husband because you are so angry at him.  And you may not believe that there will be a day when this anger lessens, even a little bit.  But time can be more healing than you can imagine.  And your husband can and sometimes will rise to the occasion in ways that you might not have previously imagined or hoped for.

The Burden Of Loving Your Husband Again Lies At Least Somewhat With Him: Many wives that I dialogue with give me the impression that they think that loving their husband again is an obstacle that they must overcome alone.  It’s almost as if they think they have to make a decision or declaration about loving their husband again no matter what circumstances or struggles are happening around them.  It’s just not that easy. You can’t turn your feelings on and off at will. And you can’t love someone who isn’t proving to deserving of your love.

It’s my opinion that while you have the responsibility to decide if you want to be open to the idea of loving him again, he has the responsibility to show himself to be worthy of your love.  He can’t expect you to feel very loving toward him if he’s not doing everything in his power to prove to you that it’s safe to do so.

I sometimes have men contact me on my infidelity blog and tell me that they are devastated because their wives have decided not to love them anymore.  I often respond by asking them what they have done to earn their wife’s love all over again.  In other words, what have they done to show themselves to be truth worthy, rehabilitated, and remorseful?  I have to tell you that it’s obvious that some men just don’t have a clue that your loving them is completely connected to their actions and behaviors after the affair.

And I do believe that this doesn’t mean that they’re stupid or that they just don’t care.  It just often means that men can be lost about what they should be doing after they cheated.  Many will look to their wife for clues as to how they should behave.  Unfortunately, often their wife is waiting for them to make the first move.  As a result, sometimes no one makes any move and both people wonder why nothing positive is happening to move the marriage and the feelings forward.

If your husband hasn’t done enough to inspire your loving feelings for him again, I would recommend speaking up and requesting what you need.  Because sometimes, men just don’t know what you expect or they don’t understand what would be their best course of action.  Many wives resist having to “spell out” what they need. They think that their husband should know what to do or should immediately begin making things right because he is sincere.  The truth is, many sincere men are just at a loss.  They aren’t sure if you want for them to back off and leave you or alone or if you want them to take action.

Frankly, sometimes asking for the behaviors that you need to see provides the best possible outcome.  Seeing your husband work tirelessly to regain your trust, to show his love, and to make things right can eventually bring about those loving feelings that we’ve been taking about.  So to answer the question posed, yes, it is possible for you to love your husband again after he cheated or had an affair.  But often, it takes time and it takes very measured efforts.  You often don’t get the best results if both of you just sort of sit back with a “wait and see” attitude while waiting on the other to make the first move.

I can tell you that today, years after my husband’s affair, I love him completely.  This is in direct contrast to how I felt about him in the weeks following the affair.  It took time but the love did eventually return and it remains today.  If it helps you can read about what worked for me and more of that story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

When Does The Remorse Begin After An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are extremely frustrated because they are not seeing a lot of remorse in the days following the discovery of an affair.  They often expect for their husbands to immediately express remorse, but this doesn’t always happen.  And this lack of immediate remorse can leave them wondering if they are going to see any sorrow at all, and, if so, when.

I heard from a wife who said: “two days ago, my husband admitted to an affair.  He told me this news in a very matter of fact way and in a somewhat cold tone.   He pretty much just made the announcement and waited for my response.  He didn’t offer any explanations or apologies.  This is weird to me because a year ago, our best friends went through infidelity and my husband was completely outraged at the unfaithful husband’s behavior.  He expressed disappointment that the husband would act with such a lack of integrity or sincerity.  But now, here my husband is acting in the same way and he is not showing any remorse at all.  My friend said that if I give him some time, I will probably begin to get some apologies from him.  Is she right?  When should I expect to see his sorrow?  When does the remorse begin?”  I will try to address these concerns in the following article.

Remorse Follows A Varying Timeline:  Unfortunately, it is very difficult to give a definitive answer about remorse.  Because when you see it often depends upon the personality of the person being unfaithful, their reasons for cheating, and where they are in the other relationship.  For example, if the affair is still intense and current, then you may not see a lot of remorse until the relationship begins to cool down.  Because people often need to understand that the affair is a horrible mistake so that they can feel remorse for it.

But if they think that the relationship is a positive in their life that makes them happier, then they will typically attempt to justify it or refuse to be sorry about it.  As unfortunate as this is, the good news is that often, with time as the affair cools down or the true nature of the other person and the relationship becomes apparent, they will often gain a new perspective on the affair.  As a result, they eventually come to regret it.  And when they do, this is when the remorse often begins.

Sometimes, People Don’t Let Their Spouses See Their Remorse Because They Think It Is A Sign Or Weakness Or They Assume That It Weakens Their Position:  Sometimes, you will see spouses who are sort of indignant after an affair.  They seem to have a cold and uncaring attitude as was the case of this husband.   Many times, the faithful spouse will see this attitude and assume that the cheating spouse isn’t sorry or just doesn’t care about the marriage anymore.  This isn’t always the case.  Sometimes, the cheating spouse is posturing to a degree.  They figure that if they get all emotional and fall over themselves showing remorse, then the faithful spouse will pile on the guilt and will expect to see more of the same type of subservient behavior.

Their thought process is that if they make it clear that they are not going to show weakness early on, then the faithful spouse’s expectations and demands will be lower so that recovery will be much easier for them.  Very few people welcome knowing that they are going to have to express sorrow regularly or grovel for their spouse’s forgiveness.  They would rather try to see if they can set the tone early.

What Are You Options When You Are Not Seeing Remorse Quickly Enough:  It’s my experience that most faithful spouses (including myself) want and demand to see remorse sooner rather than later.  When you see it will sometimes depend upon how the affair is progressing or if it is truly over to the point where the unfaithful spouse can truly understand what a mistake that they have made and can therefore begin to feel sorrow.  If you don’t think your spouse is at this point yet, you may have to wait a bit.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it clear that you expect to see it at some point in the very near future.

For example, the wife in this scenario might look for a time to say something like: “I can’t help but notice that I’m not seeing and hearing a lot of remorse from you about the affair.  I realize that the emotions are still fresh and you may be as confused as I am.  But you need to understand that I’m going to need to see some remorse from you before I can begin to move forward toward recovery.  I need to truly believe that you are genuinely and completely sorry before I can even think about trust you again.   When you have progressed enough where you’re more comfortable expressing that remorse, then let me know.”

You may have noticed that I tried to keep the tone matter of fact, mirroring the husband’s tone.  I didn’t berate or try to shame him (since this was likely to make him feel defensive.)  Instead, I told him what I expected and how to reach out once he got to that point.  It’s my experience that you will have more success with this approach than with trying to shame, guilt, or force him into claiming emotions that he is not yet ready to express.

So to answer the question posed, remorse can begin even before the affair is over, but sometimes it takes a good deal longer.  A lot of this depends upon the situation and the people involved.  And sometimes the faithful spouse will need to make it clear that remorse is not only expected, it is necessary.

I didn’t always see the kind of remorse that I wanted throughout our recovery.  Once I made it clear that this was nonnegotiable, things began to chance.  I also learned to use positive reinforcement instead or relying on guilt and shame, and this helped a good deal.  If it helps, you can read about our recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

What Are The Long Term Effects Of An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: Sometimes, when your spouse is having an affair, it’s very difficult to think beyond tomorrow – much less well into the future. But once the shock wears off and the dust settles, many faithful spouses realize that this is exactly what they have to do. Because, in order to make a sound decision about the course of your marriage, it makes sense to consider what your marriage might look (and feel like) into the future. But this is often difficult to gage and it’s a topic that you know is so important that you don’t want to just guess at it.

I might hear from a wife who says: “my husband is begging me not to leave him because of his affair. I have agreed to wait a couple of months before I make a decision. But sometimes, I regret making this promise. I truly would like to save my marriage, but I’m not going to be naive about it either. My husband likes to pretend that we can just pick up our marriage like the affair never happened. I know that this is very short sighted. I know that this isn’t reality. I have had friends who have dealt with the reality of an affair and it seems to me that almost all of them continue to struggle, long after the affair is over. I’m just wanting to understand what are the long term effects of an affair on a marriage? What does our long term future look like?”

This is a very difficult question to answer. Because honestly, the answers depend upon several variables like the depth of the deception, the length of the affair, the state of the couple’s marriage after the affair, and the amount of work done during recovery.

The Long Terms Effects Of An Affair Can Be Both Positive And Negative.  But The Marriage Is Rarely Completely Unchanged: While the truth is that it’s very likely that you are not going to have the same marriage after the affair, what is often up in the air is whether this will weaken or strengthen your marriage. To be fair, I’m going to list common negative and positive long term effects after an affair because I feel like both are completely possible. Honestly, the course that you end up on is, at least in some ways, up to you and your spouse and how much work and effort you’re willing to undertake.

Some people don’t believe their spouse deserves their efforts and this is a fair argument. I understand it. I’m not trying to tell you what you should do. I’d just like to give you a glimpse into possible outcomes, keeping in mind that all couples are different.

Negative Long Term Effects Of An Affair: I would say that most every couple knows those neighbors or mutual friends who have a marriage that is rocked by an affair but who never truly recovers. Although this couple stays together, it’s often clear that they are doing so reluctantly and that there is still a good deal of anger present. There can also be resentment by both parties. The faithful spouse has resentment for obvious reasons. She has been wronged. But the cheating spouse can feel resentful too. Because he can feel as if he’s going to have to pay for this mistake forever. And he can feel as if his spouse wants to make him grovel for the rest of his life, no matter how remorseful he is and no matter how much he tries to make amends.

In short, this couple is beaten down. Both of the are well aware that this isn’t a great marriage and that neither one is happy or at peace. But, they just accept this as their lot in life. Often, they really do not want to live this way. They would like for things to be better. But they just do not know how to cross over toward healing. And so they feel stuck, frustrated, and a little bit angry most of the time. At the same time, they don’t want to let their spouse off of the hook by just walking away.

Positive Long Term Effects Of An Affair: I hope that the above couple of paragraphs weren’t too depressing. There is some good news. First, couples like the ones described above don’t have to live this way forever. You can always chose a new way. You can always begin to heal even when you think it has been way too long.

And, some couples actually find themselves in better marriages than before the affair. I know that this is hard to believe. When a therapist told me this, I thought she was only trying to sell her services to us, at one of the most awful times in our marriage. But, with time, I can tell you that this is true. I’ve seen it in my own life and in the life of others. It is not easy. It is not automatic. And it’s also not constant. There are ups and downs. I’m not going to tell you that every day in my marriage is rosy and that I never think about the affair because that wouldn’t be true.

But I can tell you that bad days are mostly rare. In fact, our communication today is actually stronger than it ever was. We speak up if there is something wrong because we know what can happen when we become complacent. I have also made big changes in myself and in the way that I look at marriage and all relationships.  My relationship with my husband is something I chose. It is not something that I depend on to define myself. Never again will I depend on someone else for my own happiness and self esteem. I trust my husband. I do not believe that he will cheat again. But if he does, it’s not going to make me think less of myself. I spent a lot of time building myself up and becoming the type of person that I want to be. In part because of the affair, I have learned that all I can really control is myself and the way that I live my life. This has changed my outlook on control. I used to want to control my husband, keep him on a short leash, and make him feel guilty if he disappointed me. Now, I realize that this is manipulation based on fear. And it’s not the way that I want to live my life. I can be responsible for my own happiness. And in turn, this has opened up our relationship so that we feel much less pressure. We know that we are both here because we want to be. And this really has transformed our relationship.

I hope this article has shown you that there are almost always long term consequences of an affair. Your marriage is rarely unchanged. But those changes can be positive and negative.If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

I Am So Jealous All Of The Time After My Spouse’s Affair

I often hear from wives who feel very insecure and jealous after their husband’s affair. This jealousy is not always limited to just the other woman in the affair. Much to her surprise, the wife can find herself jealous of numerous people, even if she is not jealous or envious by nature. This may be because her perception of herself (and of the world around her) has been rocked by the affair.

She might say, “I am not a jealous person by nature, but since my husband had an affair six months ago, I find my nasty, jealous side coming out. Unfortunately for me, the other woman is everything that I am not. She is high maintenance and well put together. She dresses to the nines and is friends with botox. I am a very casual person who wears minimal make up. Exercise is important to me me so I do stay in very good shape, but I am not someone who is going to attempt to look a runway model if I am only going to the grocery store. I have a family and a job, so I try to look presentable, but I have other things to worry about. However, since my husband’s affair, I have now started to pay close attention to my appearance. I notice I have wrinkles and am starting to develop jowls. I have tried dressing better, but I feel kind of silly and I’m definitely uncomfortable. If I am in a grocery store and I see a well-put together, pretty woman, then I immediately feel that her life is better than mine and I wonder if she is the type of woman my husband would go for if he cheated again. I also find myself jealous of women who either never had children or who don’t put their children first. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I sometimes feel like my staying home with my kids and my putting my kids first has made me less interesting to my husband and just less appealing in general. I am jealous of career women who can do nothing but enjoy themselves on the weekends or who have spa days. I would never think of doing either. Lately, I am pretty much jealous of anyone who isn’t me. I feel like a huge, unattractive loser at times.”

I can totally identify with what you are saying. I went through the same set of feelings. I will share some things that ultimately helped me over time. Immediately after my husband’s affair, I truly felt hideous. I became so critical of myself and I had some of the same feelings about the fact that I had focused on motherhood. One day I was talking with a friend of mine who is childless and I confessed about how much I envied her. Then she admitted that she envied ME because she could see how much love I had for my children and vice verse. She said that she was jealous that for my entire life, I would have two other people in the world that I loved more than life itself. This was going to be true no matter what happened with my marriage or in other areas of my life. My friend said that no one could ever take motherhood away from me, or my love for (and from) my children. I could not argue with this. Then my friend insisted that I underestimated my looks. She said that sure, I wasn’t always heavily made up, but I had a natural beauty that didn’t require heavy use of cosmetics to enhance it. I appreciated this, but didn’t always believe it.

Then, a few weeks later, something very sad happened. For about 20 years, I had this ultra competitive relationship with a friend from high school, who later went to the same college as I did. This woman was so accomplished and talented. We often competed for the same internships, jobs, etc. She almost always beat me. She never had kids and traveled the world, which was something I REALLY wanted to do, but knew I might never have the opportunity considering my obligations. Anyway, we had a sort of love / hate relationship. My admiration of her made me see what I didn’t have. I spent a lot of time being envious and thinking that she had it all – until she got very sick. The point that I am trying to make is that you NEVER know what life is going to bring at you. Those people in the grocery store who you assume have it all may have a sick parent at home. Or they may go home to an empty house and watch TV alone. Things are not always as they appear. Someone may always appear to have it better than you. But likewise, someone will AWAYS have it worse than you.

I learned to begin to appreciate what I had. Sure, I had some wrinkles. But I was otherwise healthy. Yes, I had prioritized my children and there were some sacrifices with that, but isn’t that true of anything worthwhile? At the same time, I did make some changes that increased my confidence level. I did change my hair, fixed my teeth, and enhanced my wardrobe. I gave myself permission to take better care of myself and to carve out some time (and maintenance expenses) just for me. I decided that a happier mom was going to mean happier children. At the same time, I was very careful to make sure that I wasn’t just chasing an idea of how I thought I should look. I focused on what I truly liked and not on what I thought my husband would like. I also took some classes and eventually began to pursue my own work. That way, if my marriage did not survive, I could have the confidence that I’d be all right. These things did end up helping my marriage, but that wasn’t the point at the time. I did them for myself because I did not like feeling less than other people. And in the process, I learned that if you don’t advocate for yourself, no one else is going to. I don’t experience nearly as much jealousy now.  I’ve learned that it’s best to focus on myself, on those I love, and on the many blessings that I DO have.  If it helps, you can read about my growth and recovery after the affair at http://surviving-the-affair.com

A Letter To The Husband Who Cheated And Had An Affair: What Should It Say?

by: katie lersch: I often hear from women who are struggling to work through their husband’s cheating or affair.  Many ask me about writing a letter to put their struggles into words.  Some have even asked me for a sample letter or requested for me to write one for them.  I honestly think it’s advisable to be careful and deliberate about any letter that you are going to give your husband.   Because this can often set the tone for recovery. And often, such a letter leads to a lot of hurt feelings or misunderstandings.  Plus, it’s also important to remember that your feelings are likely to change a great deal in the coming days, months, or even years.

But I do understand the allure of a letter.  It’s often very challenging to put the difficult things that we feel into verbal words. And so often, we choke up, get emotional, or break down when we try.  So we feel like written communication or a letter is going to be easier and more effective.  Although I certainly can’t write such a letter for you, I can give you some guidelines on what it might say which I’ll do below.

A Letter Can Be Used To Release Your Feelings About The Affair. (In Fact, Sometimes A Letter That You Never Give Your Husband Can Be Beneficial:)  Many women are looking to write such a letter because they feel that doing so is going to allow them to release some very painful and closed off feelings.  I highly encourage writing such a letter.  In fact, even if you do want to craft a letter for your husband, I suggest writing one just for yourself that no one else will see.

Because this is where you can really let your feelings out without having to edit yourself or worry how your words are going to be perceived.  Many women chose to burn the letter (or at least hide it) once it’s written because these words are for no one else but you.  Since you are the only one who is going to read this letter, there’s no need to  hold back.  Just let it all out and then either dispose of it or put it somewhere where only you can find it.  Because it’s just meant to release your feelings, there really is no need to keep it around or to share it.  Now, let’s move on to the letter that you might be considering writing for your husband’s benefit or view.

Carefully Consider What You Want Your Husband To Take Away From The Letter Before You Write It Or Give It To Him: I strongly suggest that before you write any letter, you examine what you hope to accomplish with it.  I have to be honest. Many women admit to me that they write the letter because they want their husband to feel guilty or remorseful about the affair.  They want to show him how badly he’s hurt them.  They want to give him a glimpse into their battered soul so he can see just how deep the damage that he caused goes.

I completely understand this as I had the same intentions.  And that’s why it’s advisable to examine why you’re really writing the letter.  Although many don’t admit this even to themselves, many of us want to write the letter because we want to improve our situations.  We’re hoping that if our husband sees how we really feel and how deeply he’s really hurt us, he’ll be so remorseful that he will not cheat again and will move heaven and earth to make this up to us.

And yet, often the letter has the reverse affect.  Yes, it makes the husband feel very bad and guilty.  But many husbands tell me that they just see the letter as just more of the same.  I’ve actually had men tell me things like “she’s not saying anything in the letter that I don’t already know or she hasn’t already said.  I already get that I’m a bad husband who did a very bad thing so why do we need to keep repeating the same thing over and over?  I’ve already told her that I was sorry and want to save the marriage.  So how is this going to change because the words are written rather than spoken?  To me, this is just one more way for her to express how disappointed she is in me and how much I’ve let her down.  But, I already know this.  I don’t need for her to keep repeating it.”

This is why it’s so important to clearly define your objections for the letter before and while you’re writing it and to ask yourself how your husband might receive or interpret it before you give it to him.

What I Think A Letter To A Husband Who Cheated Or Had An Affair Should Include: I actually think that a well crafted letter can help a marriage after an affair.  But, you have to be very careful. Because some letters actually harm the marriage or set it back for months.  The real power that I think the right letter holds is that it can clear up any misconceptions or understandings and it can underscore your intentions and your plans moving forward.  It truly can set the tone for the days and months ahead.

For example, rather than just continuing to stress how much the affair has hurt you, you might also mention what you’d like to happen moving forward, what you need for these things to happen, and what your intentions truly are.  In my mind, such a letter could include three parts – current feelings, current needs, and future intentions.  I realize that it’s not realistic to think that you aren’t going to include how the affair or cheating has hurt you or made you feel, but I’d suggest not making this the sole content of the letter because your husband likely already knows this and if you go on and on, he’s likely not going to take away what you were hoping for.

After you briefly touch on your feelings, you then may consider focusing or explaining what you need from him in the days and weeks ahead.  If you want him to give you more reassurance, affection, and accountability, then use the letter to your advantage and ask for it.  Many of us find it easier to put these difficult requests into writing.  And the additional advantage is, for future reference, you’ve spelled out what you need to move forward.

Finally, it’s helpful to include your intentions moving forward.  I can’t tell you how many couples aren’t sure what their spouse really wants in the aftermath of the affair.  If you truly want to save your marriage even though this affair shook you to your core, now is the time to write that and to tell your husband what you need and how you intend to get there.

My initial attempt at writing a letter after my husband’s affair turned out quite badly because I gave him a letter that should have been meant only for my own eyes.  Later, I changed course with my tone and intention and this made a huge difference.  Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work beyond the letter, but it was worth it.  If it helps, you can read more of that very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

My Husband Blames His Infidelity On PTSD

It’s not uncommon for a husband caught in infidelity to try to come up with a reason or an excuse for his actions. Some excuses are frankly laughable. Others are painful. Some leave the wife wondering if they are valid and worth further exploration. One example of this is PTSD. Many husbands who have affairs are suffering emotionally and the affair is just an extension of this. Still, even if the wife accepts that the PTSD was a contributing factor, is it a valid excuse?

Someone might have a situation like this one, “my husband has been diagnosed with PTSD and he has finally agreed to seek treatment and to admit that this is a real problem. I think that the only reason he will seek counseling is because I caught him cheating on me and now he’s afraid that I’m going to leave him. Frankly, he is dependent on me for emotional support. He was in a bad car accident last year and has been struggling since that time. His personality changed quite a bit. Before the accident, my husband was very active and outgoing. Since the accident, he has become reclusive and introverted. He spends hours every day in a dark room playing video games. He met the other woman online. I’m shocked that he actually took it further so that it became a physical relationship, but it eventually did. Once my husband was caught, confronted, and could no longer deny it, he claimed that his PTSD contributed to the affair because he feels worthless and is just ‘walking through life.’ If I’m being honest. I agree with him that the PTSD could have contributed to this. I admit that his personality has changed. But these fact don’t make much of a difference to me. He still cheated. I am still left feeling hurt. I’m getting to the point where I’m asking myself if I still want to be his support system. I have been here for him and the thanks that I get is that he cheats on me? That doesn’t sound like a great deal to me. My husband is panicking at the thought of being alone. He says that he still loves me and he knows that I still love him. Perhaps that is true, but since his accident, it has been one bad event after another. Things have never gotten back to normal. He has now agreed to counseling for the PTSD, but he balks about counseling for the affair. He says if he cures the PTSD, there would be no need to worry about the affair. Is this even valid?”

I see his thought process, but I would not want to commit to a marriage where my partner wasn’t willing to work toward healing. Yes, it’s possible that his addressing the PTSD will address one risk factor toward his repeat cheating. And addressing his PTSD is a must. However, he can’t expect for your marriage to just heal on its own. He can’t expect for you to just be willing to pick up the pieces when he isn’t willing to get professional help in order to ease your mind about the potential for cheating in the future. I have been through infidelity and I’m not sure that our marriage would be where it is today without some third party, professional direction and self help resources. Healing doesn’t just magically happen on its own. Most people need help and guidance because the people inside of the affair don’t have the objectivity to heal it. They are in the middle of the storm and can’t possibly be objective.

I applaud your husband for agreeing to treat the PTSD. This is absolutely necessary because if he doesn’t treat that, then he’s more likely to cheat again, and frankly, to continue to struggle emotionally. He’s right that PTSD certainly contributes to risky behavior. But I honestly don’t think it’s prudent to stop at treating the PTSD only. Honestly, there are two issues here – the PTSD and your marriage. If you are only treating the PTSD, the marriage is still potentially floundering. I know that this probably seems like a lot of counseling or self help. And I know that the thought of this isn’t necessarily exciting, but neither is continuing to suffer and to be unhappy. If the person treating the PTSD also has experience with marital counseling, then part of each session could be spent on each topic. This would allow you to be involved with his PTSD treatment so that you could better support him. And it would give you more information about the health of your marriage and the possibility of saving it.

Deciding whether or not to walk away is a huge decision. For myself, I wanted as much information as I could get before I made that decision, which is why I did not rush it. We did do some counseling. We also did self help. On top of this, I watched and waited for a very long time before I made any commitment to my marriage. I basically told my husband that I would stay while we were trying to recover, but I wasn’t making any promises. He had to prove to me that my trust and faith wouldn’t be misplaced. And part of that was participating in any healing that I felt was necessary. Very few men are excited about the idea of more counseling, but in this case, there are several things going on, so counseling could help with both the PTSD and with your marriage. Plus, if you ultimately decided that the marriage just isn’t in your best interest, you will know that you tried and that your husband has a support system outside of yourself.

So while I agree that the PTSD could have contributed to the affair, it doesn’t excuse it.  Nor does it mean that the damage from the affair doesn’t need to be addressed.  That is why many specialists recommend  individual counseling for the contributing factors to the affair, as well as joint counseling to address the marital damage that the affair caused.  This isn’t a fun process, but until you get to the bottom of WHY your spouse acted in this way, you can’t have the confidence in your marriage that is going to be necessary to heal it.  The good news is that once you heal it, you can have some peace again.  At least that was my experience. There is more about our healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Chose Me Over The Other Woman. So Why Don’t I Feel Like I’ve Won?

by: katie lersch:  I often hear from wives whose main goal for the short term is getting their husband away from the woman that he is cheating or having an affair with. Many give their husband’s ultimatums and flat out tell him that he has to make a choice between his wife and the other woman because he can’t have them both.  Some husbands make this decision very quickly and others can’t seem to decide.  Some tell their wives that he has chosen her only to be caught with the other woman once again.

Many wives hope that once their husband decides to choose them over the other woman, the path to healing and saving the marriage will be immediate. But unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.  I recently heard from a wife who was confused as to why this felt like a hollow victory.  She said, in part: “when I found out about my husband’s affair, I suspected that he would immediately break it off with the other woman, but that didn’t happen.  Instead, he said that although he loved me and didn’t want to end our marriage, he wasn’t sure who or what he wanted.  I told him he had to choose.  Well, this decision seemed to take a very long time. He went back and forth and even moved out for a while.  Just recently, he called and told me that he chose me and our marriage and asked if he could return home.  I allowed him to do this because I was initially ecstatic that he chose me and assumed that this would be over and we could move on.  However, now that he’s home, it’s clear that this is almost a hollow victory.  It’s pretty obvious that he’s not happy and neither am I.  He’s always just sulking around the house and I feel a lot of pent up resentment.  I thought his making a choice would make things better.  And, although I’m confident that the other woman is out of our lives and that he’ll make good on his promise not to see or contact her, it feels like she’s still here in the middle of us and our marriage.  She may not be with him anymore, but it seems that she’s still on his mind or in his heart because he’s clearly not fully present here.  This just isn’t what I expected.  I thought I would be thrilled that I finally won and got him back, but it almost feels like I’ve still lost him anyway.  What can I do to make this right so that we can get on track with our marriage?”

The wife’s sentiments are so common.  It’s not unusual to become so fixated on getting our husbands away from the other woman.  We begin to think that once we get him to chose us, our work is going to be done.  Once he chooses us, we’ll have her out of our lives once and for all and this nightmare will be over.  But, what we often don’t realize is that even once she’s physically gone, her presence can be felt for a long time afterward until we deliberately place the healing into motion.

In My Opinion, True Victory Doesn’t Take Place Until You Feel Whole And Complete Again: Many women echo this wife’s concerns.  It’s so common to hope that once this other woman is out of the picture, our struggles will be over.  But frankly, sometimes the struggles truly are just beginning.  Yes, healing your marriage (and yourself) is often  very difficult or next to impossible with her still in the picture.  But, once she’s gone, that’s when you have to begin to truly pick up the pieces.  And even if she’s no longer there physically, her presence can often be felt mentally and psychologically for a long while after the affair is over.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should be discouraged or allow your frustration to halt your progress.  Understand that true healing and feeling whole once again isn’t going to happen overnight.  Eliminating her from the picture is necessary and it’s a huge step toward recovery.  But, understand that getting her out of the picture only means that you won’t have to contend with her anymore. It doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything to improve yourself, your marriage, or the after math of what’s happened.

I know from experience, that you often won’t feel like you’ve really won or recovered until you are at peace and happy again.  Because if you get your husband to chose you over her but then do nothing to ensure the healing and recovery or yourself and your marriage, then you are still likely to walk around wounded, hurt, and unsure.  This can leave you feeling as if she’s still a ghost in your marriage and your life.

In order to really rid her from your life and your mind, you have to make sure that recovery is so complete that there’s no longer any room for her.  If you can rebuild to the point where you are once again happy, confident and fulfilled, it’s only then that you will have the confidence to realize that not only is she no longer a problem or source of pain for you, but that she was never solely the problem to begin with.

Understand That The Other Woman Is Often Just A Symptom Or What’s Wrong. So Eliminating Her Without Also Addressing The Other Issues Can Still Leave You Feeling Empty And Unsure: When the other woman is a huge presence in our lives, we often convince ourselves that if we can just convince our husbands to chose us over her (so that we can get her out of the picture) then everything is going to be all right once again.

But we often don’t realize is that she’s not the entire problem.  She’s often a symptom of what was wrong either with our husband (a lack of self esteem, a time of personal crisis, etc.) or with our marriage.  So just removing her from the picture doesn’t change those things that brought about the symptom in the first place.  In order to truly heal and to feel confident that she (and her aftermath) are gone from our lives and are no longer a threat to us, we’ll often need to remove those things that contributed to her coming into our lives in the first place.

There often isn’t a quick fix for this.  Recovery after infidelity is often a detailed process that requires a lot of work both individually and as a couple.  But the good news is that couples who are really committed to truly rebuilding their marriages are often rewarded with a relationship that is better than ever and the confidence to know that the other woman (and others like her) are something that they aren’t going to have to worry about in the future.

Surviving The Affair is a blog I put together to share my story. I know that this is a very difficult time, and that recovery can be elusive, but working through it can truly be worth the effort. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. If it helps, you can check it out at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

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