My Husband Said The Other Woman Reminded Him Of Me

By: Katie Lersch: There are many common excuses or justifications that a husband will give as to what drew him to the other woman. Some men will actually try to convince their wives that the other woman was nothing special. Some will approach this in the opposite way and try to make their wives understand some of the qualities that the other woman had. A few brave men will go so far as to tell the wife that the other woman reminded him of her or was similar to the wife in some way.

A wife might share something like this: “for the longest time, I begged my husband for information about the other woman. I know it sounds crazy but I wanted to know exactly what he saw in her. At first, he would just say that this had nothing to do with her.  He would insist that it was about him. Eventually though, after I asked him very directed questions, a lot of his answers made her sound a bit like me. So one day I told my husband what I was thinking – that this woman sounded like me and my husband finally said: ‘you know, she is a lot like you. Don’t take this the wrong way, but she is like you when you were younger, before you changed.’ I knew what my husband meant. When my mother died, my personality did change. Every one has noticed. Not just my husband. I sank into a depression. I’m normally a bubbly and upbeat person but some days I was very pessimistic and had a hard time getting out of bed. So I know that he means that she was like me before I turned negative. This hurts. But I’m not sure if I buy it. And I’m not sure if this is supposed to make it better. He’s trying to sell me on the fact that he was only attracted to her because she was like me. This almost makes it worse. Because I feel like he can have the old me with her. The one that he loved. The one who is easier to live with. I feel like I’m being punished for going through a rough patch in my live that wasn’t my fault.”

I can certainly understand why you feel this way.  This is actually a pretty common situation.  Many wives notice similarities between the other woman and themselves.  Many wives will say that the other woman looks like or acts like her, only she is younger, thinner and without all of the harsh realities of a life that the younger woman could not possibly have lived.  This can make it feel as if you can’t possibly compete.

But there is another way to look at this.  I’m not sure if it will make you feel any better but it is true.  His attraction to her is influenced by his attraction to you.  It could very well indicate that he is still in love with you and that he misses what you used to have.

Think about it.  I know if you had your way, you’d want for the affair never to have happened.  Unfortunately, that isn’t possible.  But would it be worse if he cheated with someone who was your direct opposite?  Because if he did, it might feel like even more of a rejection.  It might make you feel like he’s physically attracted to someone who is not at all like you. If you followed down that path, you might then come to the conclusion that he prefers someone whose body type and personality is completely different.  This might actually make you feel more insecure about whether he still finds you attractive.

I know that there’s no way to spin this so that it is a good thing.  But if she genuinely reminded him of you, then you at least have the knowledge that his desire for you is in tact.  This may not ultimately matter all that much to you.  It depends on whether or not you want to save your marriage or where you want to go from here.  And her reminding him of you doesn’t mean that he isn’t responsible for his actions or that he is exempt from cheating.  He still made the decision to cheat.  That still has to be dealt with.

I know that this seems like a big issue.  And the circumstances of the affair can absolutely matter because they affect your healing.  But at the end of the day, the equation is the same.  There was infidelity.  And you will eventually need to heal, regardless of what you decide with your marriage.

A big concern is how this affects how you see yourself.  His mistake was his alone.  Regardless of how she looked or who he reminded her of, you have to remind yourself that she isn’t you.  No one is you.  Because you are unique and you are perfect as you are.  Do you have some work to do as far as your peace of mind?  Sure.  But don’t allow this to cause you to think that you aren’t enough.  You are.

I hope this has helped some.  A good therapist can take this even further.  But his reasoning for the affair is not nearly as important as your path to healing.  The reasons vary, but they lead us all to the same place.  We’ve been dealt a blow.  But we can recover. You can read more about my own process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

 

Our Therapist Is Telling Me To Back Off On Pushing My Husband For Details About The Affair. Why?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from people who are seeing a counselor to help them heal after a spouse’s affair and who are confused about the counselor’s strategies. Before I go any further, I have to tell you that for the most part I find counseling to be quite helpful and I can’t possibly speculate on someone else’s methods. Usually, counselors have a long term plan and, assuming that they specialize in marital or infidelity counseling, they likely know what they are doing. So while their methods may seem frustrating and confusing, they are in place to help you.

I might hear from a wife who says: “my husband and I have been going to counseling for a short time because he had a four month affair. I don’t think we have the ability to fix this ourselves and I’m relieved that he agreed to counseling. But one thing that she does really bugs me. I look forward to our sessions all week because I’m always hopeful that when I go, I’m going to get more answers about the affair. I try not to press my husband too much for details during the week, but during our sessions, I want answers. But every time I try to bring this up, the therapist says that we’re not going to push for all of the answers right now. She says that at this time, she wants to back off on pressuring my husband for answers so much. This angers me. How are we supposed to save our marriage if I don’t know what I’m dealing with? It’s like she’s expecting me to solve a puzzle without giving me all of the pieces of it. I know that we need counseling but I question her methods. Why would she tell me to back off from getting the details?”

Again, I can’t possibly know what the therapist is thinking. I would only be speculating and I could be wrong. Plus, I am not a therapist. But I would suspect that she is pacing the process. She could possibly be trying to get you to a stable place before you have to deal with difficult answers.

Or, she doesn’t want for you to have to deal with so much all at once. And, she might know that in order for your husband to really be truthful and forthcoming about the details of the affair, he has to be comfortable and feel somewhat safe in doing that. Otherwise, he may just lie or downplay things.

So in order for him to feel like he wants or needs to make that disclosure in an honest way, a foundation needs to be laid first. Both people need to be used to the counseling and feel safe within in. That could be what your therapist is trying to accomplish before the details come out.

It sounds like you are still early in the process. She could be trying to establish comfort levels and build on that as you are ready. You will likely see her introduce difficult topics after she’s seen you make progress or become more receptive and open. Again, these are only guesses on my part. I would not think that she expects you to never get the answers. But she might be trying to control the timing of them so that they come at an optimal place in your progress.

If something that she is doing doesn’t make sense to you, then I’d suggest asking her about it. You don’t want to sound like you’re questioning her methods or abilities, but you might try something like this: “I’m wondering why you’re wanting to delay us exploring details about the affair. I understand that you probably have your reasons, but I want to let you know that the details are important to me. I don’t feel that I’m going to be able to completely move on until I get them because otherwise, this is always going to be in the back of my head and it’s always going to make me wonder if I have all of the information that I need. Can you reassure me that at some point, you’re going to guide us through disclosing the details?”

This way, you might get more insight into her timeline and methods and you may also get the reassurance that you need to plow forward. I can tell you that few people agree with everything their therapist does. But in the long run, you can usually look back and realize that even though her methods were confusing at the time, they turned out to be advantageous in the end.

I know that none of this is easy but try to be open to her professional opinion until she gives you a reason not to be.   If it helps,  you can read more about my own healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

The Right Reasons And The Wrong Reasons To Stay Married After An Affair

By Katie Lersch: I often hear from couples who are trying to decide if they’re going to save or end their marriage after one of them has an affair. They often aren’t sure if the problems that lead to the affair are insurmountable or if the damage that it caused inspired pain that is impossible to overcome. Whether to save your marriage or walk away from it is not a decision that I can make for anyone. It’s a very personal decision which is influenced by many factors and it is often not yours alone to make.

And although I can’t make this decision for you, I can tell you what I have found to be the right reasons and the wrong reasons that people stay together after an affair. I see many couples who attempt to stay together for the wrong reasons eventually either fail in their marriage or become so angry and bitter that they wonder if they would be better off if they had failed.

Conversely, I see people who decide to stay married for the right reasons rise to the occasion, grow, and end up being happier because they have a better marriage than the one that they started with. So in the following article, I’ll go over some of the common wrong reasons that I see people use when they chose to stay together after an affair. And I will also go over the right reasons that people cite as well.

The Wrong Reasons That Couples Decide To Stick It Out And Stay Together After An Affair:

You Want To Make Your Spouse Miserable Or Make Them Pay: Sometimes both people aren’t sure if they even still want or love their spouse. But, they are also sure that they don’t want for anyone else to have them either. And sometimes, they want to make them pay for their affair. The marriage (and clinging to it) becomes a short of punishment for the infidelity.

Along this same idea, some people push to stay together after an affair simply because they don’t want their spouse to end up with the person with whom he cheated or had the affair. The wife may well know that she will never love her husband in the same way ever again, but she’ll be darned if she’s going to let that cheating tramp have him.

This is truly understandable. I had this inclination myself when my own husband had an affair, but what you typically can’t see at the time is that you are punishing yourself too. Don’t you deserve a marriage in which both people are equally happy and fulfilled? Do you deserve to live only to make someone else miserable? Because if so, the chances are good that you are going to be miserable as well.

You’re Afraid To Be On Your Own. You Don’t Think That Anyone Else Could Possibly Want Or Tolerate You: Another common reason that I see wives (and sometimes husbands too) hold onto their marriage after their affair is that they are scared or doubtful about being on their own. So they figure that it’s better to be in a dead marriage with the security that this brings rather than taking their chances on the outside. In this case, you are often selling yourself short. If you are going to take this route, at least make sure that you try every thing in your power to improve yourself as an individual as well as your marriage so that you never feel that you are at someone else’s mercy again.

Money Or Financial Reasons Keep You From Breaking Away: The final thing that I will mention is that sometimes the people who cheat stay in their marriage not because they truly want to be there, but because they know that a divorce is going to be costly. So they are there only for the financial security, but not for the marriage. If this is your situation, at least do everything in your power to save not only your pocketbook, but your relationship with your spouse. No one should sentence themselves to a life of unhappiness.

The Right Reasons to Stay Married After An Affair:

Despite the Infidelity, You Still Love Your Spouse: I know that it is sometimes hard for people to understand how you can continue to love someone who has betrayed you, but believe me, it is possible. You can’t just turn off your love for someone because they disappointed you. You may feel profound anger and or hatred for what you spouse did, but somewhere deep down, you don’t have it in you to turn your back on them and, despite yourself, you still love and want them.

I don’t think that there is any real shame in this. Marriages recover from affairs every day. Some are even blissfully happy and fulfilling again. If you find yourself in a situation where you still love your spouse, I don’t see the harm in trying to make it work. If you don’t, you may well regret it as well as always wonder what might have happened.

You Want To Keep Your Family In Tact Despite the Affair: This is actually one of the most common reasons that people give me for staying together. They do not want to split up their family. Many wives will tell you that if they only had themselves to think about, they might have made a different decision. But they refuse to break up their family because of a mistake that was not their children’s fault. This was my thinking too.

Now, people will sometimes disagree and tell you that a bad or troubled marriage is not healthy for kids either. But my response has always been that troubled marriages can be healed and there are countless studies which indicate that, absent an abusive or horribly traumatic family life, living with two parents is the best thing for children. Countless studies indicate educational, social, and psychological issues that crop up after a divorce. I think most people would agree that if you can keep your family together, it is in your children’s best interest to do so. That’s not to say that you need to become a martyr. You don’t have to limp through in a marriage that isn’t making you happy. You should do everything in your power to make your marriage a happy one once again because the marriage that you are showing your children is the one that they will one day model.

You Are Too Stubborn To Give Up: Never underestimate stubbornness as a valid reason to pull your marriage out of the brink of destruction. There are many people in this world who just hate to fail at anything. Walking away from their marriage is, for them, admitting defeat or admitting that they failed. If this is what it takes to get you through, I see no problem here either.

I struggled with and considered all of these reasons after my husband’s affair. But it was my love for my family that inspired me to stick it out. Today, I am glad that I made that decision because my marriage is a good one and I personally think it’s better than it was. If it helps, you can read the whole emotional story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Was Spiteful When Telling Me He Cheated

By: Katie Lersch: Finding out your husband has been cheating is painful enough. Many wives admit that they have a bit more respect for their husbands if he confesses to the cheating himself. However, this often isn’t true if the husband is mean, cruel, or spiteful while making that confession.

A wife might say: “last week, my husband and I got into a huge fight. He was telling me how controlling and miserable I am. He was going on and on about how he feels suffocated by our marriage. And then he said, with tons of anger in his voice ‘your negativity is why I am cheating on you. It’s why I have to turn to someone else to escape from your nastiness.’ And then, without skipping a beat, he want on to tell me how far superior the other woman is to me. He told me that she was kind and supportive of him. He told me that she doesn’t nag or criticize him. And he told me that she was far prettier and younger than me and that she knew how to make a man feel good instead of miserable. Now, I’m doubly angry. It’s bad enough that he is cheating. But why does he have to be so spiteful? He acts as if I deserved to be cheated on.”

This isn’t uncommon, but it sure is frustrating. Below, I’ll list some reasons that he may be acting in this way and how you might address it.

He May Be Feeling A Lot Of Anger And He’s Not Sure Where To Direct It: I write a lot of articles which indicate that people cheat during a time of personal crisis and vulnerability. I firmly believe this almost without exception. It’s only my opinion though.  But, you often see people cheat when things are falling apart in their life or within their consciousness. So it’s not unusual for someone who is cheating to be struggling with feelings of anger. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that the anger may have contributed to the cheating.

Often though, these folks are angry with themselves and with their lives. And they might project these feelings of anger onto their spouse. After all, their spouse is an easy target and if they can direct their anger at their spouse, they just might find some justification for their cheating.

Please don’t think that I am defending them. I’m not. I’m just trying to point out that anger is often a very common precursor to (and symptom of) an affair. And although it is directed at you, that doesn’t mean that you are the only place where his anger is directed.

He May Be Trying To Hurt You: As immature as this might sound, sometimes an affair is an attempt to “get back” at a spouse for some perceived wrong doing. Perhaps your husband did genuinely feel that you were acting in a negative way, but rather than approach you and try to work through this like the adult that he is, he resorted to committing a selfish act which he knew would hurt you.

The spiteful words were a way to make sure to enhance the hurt and, when they came out of his mouth, he just could not stop himself. Again, this is not an excuse, but it lets you know what you are dealing with.

Handling The Spitefulness: How you handle this completely depends on what you want moving forward. If you think you might want to one day save your marriage OR you find it best not to engage with him to make things worse (which is frankly almost always my preferred way to deal with this,) I’d suggest something like this. “That’s quite hurtful, but I suppose that was the entire point. I’m sorry that you feel I’m controlling but that is never going to be a valid excuse to cheat. I’m not going to engage in a conversation where we talk to one another in this way. It solves nothing. And the core issue is the affair, which seems to be overshadowed by your words about my actions.  And although my actions clearly trouble you, they are certainly not as malicious as cheating. Regardless, we clearly aren’t going to be able to work anything out while we are both so angry. I do not accept that my actions justify your cheating, but we will have to talk about that another day. Things are too painful and volatile right now and I don’t want to stand here and listen to you say these things to me. Once we both calm down and commit to talking to one another in a more civil way, we can address this.”

I know that I am asking for a lot of restraint. I know that it is very tempting to stand there and defend yourself and tell him just what you think of him. But doing so is only going to make this worse and it is bad enough already. It’s almost never a bad idea to regroup, calm down, and come at it later.

Frankly, if your husband can realize that his anger and spite is displaced and underserved, he will likely back off. But he can’t realize that if you are displaying the negative behavior that he’s now complaining about. It’s better to show him who he isn’t expecting to see. Someone who is calm and anything but the controlling bitter person who he has been describing.

After I learned about my husband’s affair, I lost my cool from time to time.  But my intention was always to at least attempt to not engage with my husband.  I wanted any evaluations to be made based on what was factual and not on the emotions that came after the fact.  You can read more about my own process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Does Infidelity Hurt So Much?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from people who are greatly struggling with their spouse’s infidelity. Many are surprised that they are struggling this way because they consider themselves to be resilient people who can mostly cope with challenges quite well. They do not understand why they can’t just lean on their resolve and carry on like they always have.

You might hear someone who says: “it has been months since my husband had an affair. And yet, I am still hurting so much. I know that my husband isn’t cheating anymore. I know that he wants to work things out. And I know that I need to move forward. And yet I can’t. I am so focused on the hurt. The pain won’t go away and so I can’t focus on much else. The thing is, I’m no stranger to pain in my marriage. Early on, we lost all of our money on a poor investment. We lost our home. I had a serious illness and for a while, we didn’t know if I was going to make it. There have been a lot of hardships in our marriage and we have overcome them all and even though they were painful, I was able to put them behind me. I just do not understand why this is so different. Why does infidelity hurt so much? Why is it so different?”

I can and will give you my theory. By no means am I an expert, but I have been through this. I know the pain. And I believe that one reason that it hurts so much is because you feel rejected at a time when you allowed yourself to be vulnerable.

And for all of the other obstacles we face in our marriages – illness, money problems, disagreements, these things do not feel like a personal rejection. We generally will become angry with our spouse. We may feel fear and anxiety. But in the end, we band together because we are in it together. And we don’t necessarily doubt our spouse’s love for us during it. We know that we are in a tight spot, but, for better or worse, we are in it together.

However, when infidelity is involved, we don’t know if we are in it together. Because we don’t know if our spouse wants us anymore. We don’t know if our spouse considers us attractive anymore. We loved our spouse and we let them in. We allowed them to see us the true us, the real us, the one who is without pretense. And, in the end and because of the infidelity, we worry that we weren’t good enough because, even if only for a little while, they chose to be with someone else.

And this feels personal. It feels like they saw deep inside us and they rejected the core of who we are. And so we have to wonder if this crisis is going to pass. Because we don’t have the knowledge that we are in this awful thing together. What if we let our guard down and they cheat again? What if our marriage becomes one of those bitter unions where the husband can’t stand the wife and she only stays so she can punish them? Who wants to live in a house without laughter and love?

Infidelity hurts so much because it can make you believe that your world will never be the same again and that the past you thought so wonderful was actually a lie all along.

I’ve painted a very bleak picture, haven’t I? Honestly though, I don’t think anyone can deny that infidelity hurts with a pain that rivals few other types of hurt.

But as intense as it can be, for many of us, it fades with time. I mean, I don’t think about my husband’s infidelity on a constant basis anymore. But if I were to conjure it up right this second and focus on those memories, of course I would hurt.

But it’s not that intense pain that I fear will never end anymore. It’s that sore of dull ache of wishing I could change it but knowing that I can’t. But I do have to say that with that dull ache comes a sort of triumph because it turns out that my husband and I were in that together.

We did band together. And we did overcome that obstacle like many others. And we learned and we reconnected to make sure that our hurt wasn’t in vain. So yes, infidelity hurts because it is the worst of all betrayals by the person who you love the most. But, thankfully, it is a hurt that generally fades with time. And the more you heal, the less it hurts.

Yes, some of this just takes time. But one thing that you can do, right now, is to tell yourself that you are absolutely good enough. I believe that much of the hurt from infidelity comes from the fear that you weren’t quite up to the task of being the best wife and the best person that you could be. You worry that someone else was prettier, sexier, younger. You worry that someone else took what was yours because she was in some way better.

To really begin to fade the hurt, you have to reject these thoughts. You are absolutely good enough.  Being the best wife and the best person in the world doesn’t prevent infidelity.  Because the flaw is in the cheater.  Not in the cheated on.

And once you believe that, the healing can begin. You can read more about my own recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Do Some Men Break Off The Affair Once Caught?

By: Katie Lersch: Finding out that your spouse has been having an affair is a painful experience. But wondering if he is going to continue to affair or break it off as he’s promised is equally as painful. Many women really want to believe that he is going to end it and never look back. But many of us just do not have all of the information. We don’t know how serious the feelings were. And we can only speculate as to whether he is only telling us what we want to hear so that he can continue on with the affair behind our backs.

A wife might say: “I literally walked in on my husband having an affair. It was horrifying. My husband immediately told the other woman that she had to leave. I was too angry to speak with him then. But later, he begged me to listen to him and he told me that he will completely break things off and that he won’t ever see or talk to this woman again. Of course, I wanted to know the exact nature of the relationship. I had many questions. My husband patiently answered them. But I wasn’t happy to learn that the affair had been going on for two months. For me, that is a troubling amount of time. That is long enough to realize that you are making a mistake and to keep doing it anyway. That is long enough to develop real feelings. And that is why I have my doubts that my husband is actually going to end it. But when I told my friend about this, she said that many men do in fact end an affair when they are caught. She says the lack of secrecy makes the affair not so exciting anyone so that there is no point in continuing it. Is she right?”

It’s my belief that she is right some of the time. I can’t tell you that every man who is caught in an affair will break it off. Some refuse to break it off because they have become invested in the relationship. It makes them feel desirable, young, and vibrant once again – at least for as long as the novelty remains.

Others will insist that they will break it off and they will have every intention of doing so. But when they go to the other woman and try to end things, she will make it difficult. Or he will find that it is much harder than he thought. So he will allow the relationship to continue, angry at himself the entire time, and knowing that he’s playing a very dangerous game but not knowing how to make it stop once and for all.

But, the good news is that on the other end of the spectrum are those husbands who have reality slap them in the face when the see their wife’s hurt, devastated face when the truth comes out. See, many men aren’t living in reality when they are having an affair. They assume that no one is really getting hurt and they aren’t thinking about the future. But when they see you getting hurt and they have to face the reality that their actions might cost them their marriage, then reality comes crashing down very quickly.

And they realize that they must take a stand. They realize that things can not continue like this. And so yes, these men are motivated to break it off. Because they don’t want to lose the life they had over something that really doesn’t have anything to do with their wife. And they can now look at the affair and realize that it didn’t erase their problems, it didn’t make them any younger, and it didn’t make the pain go away for good.

Of course, I am not going to tell you that you just need to take your husband’s word for it. Because I think it’s silly not to watch him closely at a time when he’s just recently deceived you in such a disappointing and catastrophic way. I watched my husband very closely even though he showed all signs of breaking it off and even though he spent every free moment with me.

I also got to work on counseling and self help that was meant to strengthen our marriage and place safeguards in place so that this wouldn’t happen again. So no, I didn’t just blindly trust that my husband had broken it off. But, years after the fact, I can look back and see that he had.

So to answer the question, many men absolutely end the affair when it is found out. They realize that they have to make a choice and they chose the wives with whom they have a long history and have made a life. Others decide to continue to deceive for various reasons. But that doesn’t mean that all of them do or that you should assume that your husband falls into this category.

You can read more about my own recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

I Just Found Out About The Affair, But I Feel Like My Marriage Has Already Been Over For A Long Time Anyway

By: Katie Lersch:  I believe that it is an untrue myth that all people are shocked when they find out that their spouse has an affair.  Some people truly see it coming and honestly believe that it inevitable before it actually happens.  They know that their marriage or their spouse is struggling.  Or, they see their spouse becoming distant and unreachable.

They also often can’t help but notice that he’s not coming home as early or as often.  So, while they may not officially “know” about the affair, many are not surprised when they officially find out about it. They knew that their marriage was in trouble and that their spouse wasn’t happy.

So when the affair happens and is actually discovered, the faithful spouse may not be shocked.  And they may not even be that upset.  They may be resigned because they figure their marriage felt like it was ending anyway.

That’s why we can try to console ourselves with the claim that this is no big loss.  A wife might say: “I can’t claim that I knew my husband was cheating.  I didn’t.  Not really. He didn’t leave any obvious clues and he wasn’t being any colder to me than he usually is.  But I’m not completely surprised because our marriage has been bad for some time.  I feel like our marriage has been ending for quite a while, especially on his end of things. I’m still disappointed though.  And I’m especially shocked that now he’s asking me to give him another chance.  He hasn’t been interested in our marriage in years and suddenly he wants to fight to keep it in tact?  I don’t get that. I’m sad thinking that this might be the end of our marriage, but I can’t imagine how we’ll make it after the affair.  I feel like the affair was the final blow to our marriage.”

You have every right to feel this way. And you get to decide the fate of your marriage since you are the one who has to live with or without it.  Many people can look back at their marriage after a huge stressor like this and see that the cracks were beginning to show long before an affair surfaced.

Determining Your True Stand On This:  Believe it or not, an affair doesn’t always mean that the affair has to be the final nail in the coffin of your marriage.  If you are absolutely sure that you are no are no longer invested and you feel at peace with it ending, then perhaps the marriage has met its natural end.  But if you are experiencing sadness and some hesitation, then that may be an indication that there is something left to save.

I also find it interesting that your husband is begging you not to end things.  Your perception is that he checked out long ago.  However, he is clearly no longer checked out if he is begging you to being open about the future of your marriage.  Either the idea of losing you has changed his mind or he wasn’t as checked out as you thought.

And your reaction – the sadness – may indicate that you may not be as indifferent as you thought. Of course, the ultimate decision is yours.  You are the only one who can sort out your feelings and decide what is ultimately going to make you the most happy and at peace.

Some people decide that they just do not want to invest the time and energy into a spouse who betrayed them.  And others start to experience a doubt, a sadness, and a sense of loss and they start to wonder why.  They start to ask themselves if these strong feelings indicate that they may be more invested than they originally thought.

I often suggest not making knee jerk decisions after the discovery of the affair.  The reason is that you are often flooded with emotions.  And it can take some time to figure out which ones are real and which ones count the most.  You often are going to need some time to sort out what you really and truly want to do.

Sometimes, an affair is the stimulus for both people to fight for the marriage that they were sure was dead or ending.  And for others, it is the final straw.  It is thing that puts an end to a marriage that was already struggling.  For others, it is a signal to pay attention and get real about the state of what you truly want.

The good news is that you get to decide which of the above is right for you. There is no right or wrong here.  There is only what is ultimately going to make you the most content. Often, none of the decisions are perfect.  Saving your marriage is a lot of work.  But giving it up is sad.  Many feel that the hard work is worth is, but some are just not willing to do it under such circumstances.

Ultimately, I decided to fight for my marriage, although if I’m being honest, I had my doubts that we would be successful.  But we were successful and I’m glad I was open to that. I outline why I think we made it on my blog.

I’ve Been Struggling With Getting Over My Husband’s Affair For A Long Time. How Do I Turn The Corner?

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes hear from women who feel that too much time has passed since their husband’s affair to not see any improvement.  Often, months or even years go by and yet they feel no better and there is not yet a sense of relief. The wives can start to wonder what is wrong with them and if there is any way to turn to the corner or to get over the hump.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband had an affair three years ago.  If you would have told me then that I would still be in pain three years later, I would not have believed it.  I thought that if my husband and I wanted to save our marriage enough, then we would eventually heal.  We are both intelligent and good people and I was confident that we would do whatever was necessary.   But we have not recovered as well as I would have hoped.  And I don’t think that this is anyone’s fault.  We have tried very hard.  I do believe that my husband has been faithful since the affair.  But I still hurt.  I still have doubt.  I still find myself thinking back to when I first found out.  I find myself wondering why my marriage still feels off.  When I discuss this with my husband, he gets frustrated and throws up his hands.  He asks me what more he can be expected to do.  I don’t have any answers for him.  I don’t know why I haven’t recovered.  I want to feel better.  And I’m terrified that this means that although we tried our best, our marriage just didn’t make it.  This breaks my heart.  But what other conclusion is there? How can I turn the corner?  Or is it too late?”

I don’t think that it is ever too late.  I can’t tell you that every marriage is going to make it after an affair.  Some do not make it even though both people tried very hard.  But others that initially struggle do recover.  And sometimes what separates one from the other is a refusal to give up.  I do believe that there are some things that you might try before you give up.  After all, you have hung in there this long.  So I think it is worth to try a few additional things.

Is There Anything That You Still Need To Talk About?:  I often find that in situations like this, there are a few issues where neither spouse wants to go.  In other words, there are often issues that people will tend to tip toe around.  And these tend the be the most potentially painful issues.  These are often issues of attraction, trust, compatibility, and integrity.  These are the unspoken questions like: “do you not find me attractive anymore?”  Or “will you cheat again when my back is turned?”  Or “how am I ever going to be confident that I turn you on enough for you to be faithful to me?”  Another example is: “I’m not sure that I will ever be the same person again.  And as a result, I’m not sure that we can ever have the same marriage again.”

Many people don’t put these fears and thoughts into words either because they don’t want to put their insecurity or their doubts on display or they don’t want to bring up an issue that they think should have already healed.  Plus, they often don’t want to risk the judgements or the defensiveness from their spouse.  In short, it’s a risk that they don’t want to take when they have already lost so much or they already feel as if they are walking on thin ice.

I do understand this.  I know how this feels.  But I also know that if you “don’t go there” or you don’t stare right in the face of what is troubling you the most, then it is always going to be an issue until you do.  And after some time has passed, you can start to believe that the whole issue is insurmountable issue when in fact it is not.

You Must Make Every Attempt To Reintroduce Fun And Flirtation Back Into Your Marriage:  I know that this may seem silly at first glance.  But many couples almost see staying together after infidelity as a job that must be done well or even perfect.  They approach this in a very serious and almost methodical manner.  This is understandable.  After all, your marriage is at stake here.  It’s not a laughing matter.  But I can tell you that a very common reason that people have affairs is because they are looking to add spice to their lives.  They are attracted to something new or to a sense of adventure.

In order to turn the corner, you should make every attempt to reintroduce this into your marriage. And when I say this, it can be as simple as trying to new things and making sure that you are laughing with your spouse on a regular basis.  I know what you might be thinking.  You are probably wondering how are you supposed to do this when you are still so angry or things are still so tense? Sometimes, you have to place these fears on the back burner for just a little while so that you can make some progress.

I know that it might seem weird or even unfair.  But if you are successful with this, something interesting might happen.   When you start to gel and be light hearted with your spouse again, you will probably find that your confidence level will go up and your anger level will go down.  That’s just the way that it often works.

You Must Rebuild Your Confidence To Manage Your Doubts:  Sometimes when I describe the above scenario, I women respond with things like “well my husband doesn’t want to spend that kind of time with me.”  Or “my husband would never think of me as light hearted and fun.”

If this strikes a cord with you, then this is a good indication that you need to work on your self confidence. I don’t say this to insinuate that there is anything wrong with you.  But in order to take risks, you will need a little courage.  And courage doesn’t come easily when you are filled with self doubt.  So I am giving you encouragement and even permission if you need it to do whatever you need to do in order to restore your self confidence.  This might take a little time, creativity, and patience but it is worth it.  You may even feel selfish at the time, but this is OK.  Because if you don’t see the positive attributes within yourself than you can’t believe that your husband also sees them.  And unfortunately, until that happens, you may have a hard time turning the corner. And there is nothing wrong with seeking professional help with this if all else fails.

As I alluded to, I had my own struggles after my husband’s affair.  Doubts and worries seemed to follow me around no matter what I did.  My mind would resolve that today was a new day but my heart wouldn’t follow. It wasn’t until I made myself the biggest priority that all this changed.  If if helps, you can read that story on my blog http://surviving-the-affair.com

 

My Spouse Cheated. But He Never Expressed Any Unhappiness In Our Marriage

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

My Husband And I Have A Great Sex Life. And Yet He Still Cheats. Why?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are extremely confused as to why their husband is a repeat cheater. They have made it their business to ensure that they have full, exciting, regular, and stimulating sex life. And yet, he still cheats. This often leaves them wondering if perhaps the sex isn’t as great as they had assumed or if, no matter what they do, they are going to be dealing with a husband who can’t stop cheating.

I might get a comment like: “the first time that my husband cheated on me, I tried to use it as a wake up call to strengthen my marriage. I admit that at that time, our marriage had gotten a bit stale after we had kids. So I really opened up sexually and, as a result, our sex life blossomed. When I talk to my girlfriends about sex, they confirm to me that my husband and I have sex far more than what is normal. And frankly, I do a lot of things that my friends refuse to do. So honestly, my husband doesn’t have anything to complain about in the sex department. I am more than accommodating to him. And he tells me all of the time that he is more than satisfied. And that is why it is was so shocking to me when he cheated the next time. There was no logical reason for him to need to seek anything anywhere else. I keep myself attractive. I am attentive to his emotional and physical needs. I believe that I am a good wife and mother. And if all of this isn’t confusing enough, I just found out that he has cheated a third time. I just do not get it. Why does a man who has a wonderful sex life have to go out and cheat?”

I am going to attempt to answer this with my own theory. But before I do, I have to tell you that I am not a man. So while I can’t possibly know how or what a man thinks directly, I do hear from a lot of men in this situation on my blog. And I have done a lot of research on this because of my own situation. Experts will often stress that men cheat for emotional rather than physical or sexual reasons. I actually agree with this, but I believe that this statistic is often misunderstood.

Many people will assume that the wife is not supporting the husband emotionally so he has to seek this somewhere else. They might assume that she is cold, unapproachable, distant, or unsympathetic. None of these things need to be true. Often, the man is struggling with something within himself whether that thing is aging, a lack of self esteem, mourning a life he never realized, or a slew of other possibilities. In short, he is dealing with some sort of stressor and is having a hard time. Now, he may have the most understanding and supportive wife in the world. But because this is an internal struggle, she can not take it away for him or fix it for him, no matter how much she might like to. (And to be quite honest, the other woman isn’t likely to fix it either, even though she might serve as a diversion to make him forget.)

Of course, there are other reasons that men cheat that have nothing to do with their sex life or with their wife. They may have poor impulse control, they may have a destructive streak and a tendency to sabotage the things they hold most dear because they feel that they are undeserving. They have risky friends or put themselves in risky situations. They may come from a household or a culture that condones cheating. Or, they may have a legitimate sexual addition.

There are numerous possibilities here. But many of them has nothing whatsoever to do with sex. In fact, many men who comment on my blog will have no problems admitting that they had a great marriage and a great sex life. They will tell you that neither of these things were the issue. Many people will assume that they are lying to spare their wife’s feelings. But I don’t. So much of my research has indicated that cheating really isn’t about sex and many actual cheating husbands have confirmed this.

And that is why a man can cheat when he has a very satisfying sex life with a wife whom he deeply loves. That is not to say that it doesn’t matter what happens with your sex life. It does. But you can have a great sexual relationship and still be faced with infidelity. It is actually quite common. That’s why I recommend getting some help to determine why he keeps repeating these same behaviors so that he can get what he needs within himself so he can stop.  If it helps, you can read more about my healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com