Do I Want To Rebuild My Marriage After My Husband’s Affair? How Do I Know?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are having a very hard time formulating a plan after their husband has cheated or had an affair.  Often, their first inclination is to leave and turn their back on their husband and on their marriage.  But, often, this feels very abrupt and not quite right.  You are often thinking about others instead of just yourself.  Often, you have a family and your husband to also consider.  And so you are left wondering if its best to try to save or rebuild your marriage or if it would be easier or would make more sense to just walk away.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband had a three month affair with one of our mutual friends.  His betrayal hurts enough but I’m doubly wounded because I trusted and liked this woman.  My husband says that he is willing to rebuild our marriage.  But he also says that if I am honest with myself, I have to admit that our marriage has only been a cold shell for the last several years.  He says that if we have any chance of making things work, we’re going to have to make some drastic changes.  I am sure that he means that the physical part of our relationship has deteriorated and I’m a bit angry that he would start out saying that I am the one who needs to make changes.  If I’m being honest, I have to admit that he is right about some things but I really don’t want to hear it right now.  He needs to give me more time.  Part of me just wants to pack my bags, leave, and allow them to have each other since they are both cheaters and liars.  But another part of me knows that I have put a lot of work in this marriage and that it might a waste to just turn my back without trying to make things work first.  But my feelings and wishes are constantly changing.  I have no idea if I really want to rebuild.  How do I know for sure?”

What this wife was feeling was absolutely normal and understandable. I honestly changed my mind multiple times per day when I was in this situation.  You have a lot to process and you shouldn’t be expected to make quick or sudden decisions.  With that said, when you are ready, there are some questions that you can ask yourself to help you come to a sound decision.  I will discuss this more below.

You Don’t Have To Make A Decision Within Any time Frame: I know that things can feel very immediate right now.  And sometimes, your spouse pressures you to make a decision because your doing so is going to take some pressure off of him.  But, nothing says you have to give into this.  You have been given a lot to consider.  And in the beginning, your feelings and your thoughts are all over the place.  It can take quite a bit of time before you have thoughts and inclinations that you can actually trust to be accurate.  And, sometimes, you just don’t yet have all of the information that you need in order to make some sound decisions.

So there is nothing wrong with having a conversation like: “I know that we would need to make some changes in our marriage if we were to rebuild.  But right now, I don’t want to think that far ahead.  I can only take things day by day.  Right now, I am just taking my time processing this and trying to evaluate my feelings.  If I come to any firm conclusions, I will share them with you.  In the meantime, I just want to take things as they come.  Can you have a little patience while I do this?’

Some Questions That You Might Want To Consider When You Are Ready: There is no reason for you to evaluate this until you are ready.  Give yourself time until it becomes obvious that you now want to make some firm decisions.  When that time comes, it can help to ask yourself how fulfilling and healthy your marriage was in the time before the affair.  Was your husband a good spouse until his mistake?  Did being married to him make you a happier, better, or more complete person?  Was he a person whom you admired, loved, and respected? Are both you and your spouse willing to work hard and make whatever changes necessary?  Are you willing to seek help if you need it?  And you willing to have patience as you go through this process?  Are you willing to one day start over and trust again? Is your husband willing to be rehabilitated?

These are just a few questions that you may want to consider.  However, I’d also like to make it clear that you don’t need to answer these all at once.  Also, if the answer is no to any of these questions, that doesn’t mean that you should give up.  It just means that you have a little more work to do.  Resist any urge to give up when things get difficult.  This is not an easy process.  Some days things may feel hopeless, but better days might be right around the corner.  I suppose the real question is whether or not you think the marriage before the affair is worth fighting for, if you want to cultivate a new and better marriage or if you just thinks its best to end the relationship.

And nothing says that you need to come to a firm and final decision initially.  You can always tell your husband that you are willing to try to take it one step at a time and see what happens.  I certainly wasn’t sure that we were going to make it when I decided to just see what happened.  We really struggled at first, but then we committed to seeing it through no matter what.  I have never regretted this decision and my marriage is better in many ways.  But this is a very individual decision.  If it helps, you can read more on my blog

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