How Can I Get My Spouse To See That The Affair Was Not A Real Relationship?

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s often very painful to see the affair through the eyes of your spouse, especially when he is clinging to the thought that it is “something special” or “something real” when you know that this isn’t the truth.  It’s hard to sit by and watch him fantasize about something that clearly isn’t even close to reality.

A wife might explain: “my husband is sure that the woman he cheated with wants to be with him forever.  He feels like he has fallen in love.  He’s too stupid to see that she is only with him because of what he can give her.  She’s trying to advance herself and my husband offers her financial and career gain. And as soon as she gets what she wants, she’s going to drop him.  I’ve actually met with her and at that time she assured me that she had no interest whatsoever in taking my husband away from me. I have also hired someone to check her background.  She does not have the professional background that she claims to have.  She has a bankruptcy in her financial past.  She also has children, which she has never told my husband about.  Once, I hid to watch them when they were at a restaurant together and I literally saw her roll her eyes at my husband when he went to the bathroom and wasn’t looking.  She clearly is only using him. But my husband refuses to see this. I am trying to get my husband to go to counseling with me, but he keeps putting me off.  And I honestly think that this is because he’s holding out hope that he can have a future with her. I have told him what the other woman said, but he doesn’t believe me. I have told him about the bankruptcies, but he just shakes his head at me. I suspect that he thinks I am just saying this to manipulate him. But I am trying to show him that this relationship is not real.  It is all built on a persona that is all fake.  How do I get him so see this?”

This is the million dollar question and there is an extremely frustrating irony in all of this.  Often, the more you try to make him see what is so very obvious, the more he is going to resist reality. And you need to understand why so that you know what you are dealing with.  Because understanding why he doesn’t want to know the truth may help you to come up with a way around his thinking.   Here is the thing.  He is strongly invested in staying in the dark.  Why?  Because like any typical person dealing with the insecurity that comes with aging, he wants to feel special.  He wants to feel as if a woman whom he thinks so highly of (even if this thinking is misplaced) reciprocates his feelings.  This is easier for him to believe than to see the truth – that he’s an older man who is only being used by someone who is only looking out for herself.  No one wants to see themselves as this desperate or this lonely.  No one wants to see themselves as a sap who is being used.

So when you show up with proof in an attempt to force him to face this harsh reality, then he is going to resist you.  Because facing the truth is painful.  He does not want for you to be right.  He wants to continue to believe that he is special and alluring to this person.

However, often, there comes a time when reality can not be denied.  Usually though, this doesn’t come about because the wife makes him see the truth.  This comes about because he either finally sees the other woman for who she is, or the other woman tires of him and she breaks it off.  I know that it is frustrating to feel like you have to just sit there and wait while he acts and looks very stupid.  But the reality is, that he isn’t likely to believe the truth when it is coming from you. And he may even be angry at you (even if he knows that you are right.)

As hard as it is, you are usually better off just letting the inevitable happen.  If she really has no interest in him other than just career gain, then this process shouldn’t take very long.  He will realize that it is not a real relationship once she ends things or her motivation becomes obvious to him.  Women like this tend to take what they can and then move on to the next man in pretty short order. I know that none of this makes it any easier for you.  And I am so very sorry about that because I have been there.  But, I also know that the more you push painful reality into his face, the more he will turn away from it.  You have to sometimes bide your time and know that winning the war is more worthwhile than winning the battle.

I would not rule out counseling.  You can go yourself if he is resistant.  That way, when the affair comes to its inevitable end, you will have made good use of your time and you would have made yourself stronger.  He may at that time see that you have made progress and agree to come along.

But, a relationship that isn’t real can’t exist on fluff forever.  It is inevitable that he will eventually have no choice but to face reality.  And if you just wait, he will have no reason to be angry with you when he does.

You know, it took a while before my husband could finally admit out loud what an idiot he was.  He finally admitted this himself, without any prompting from me.  And it felt good.  But, this didn’t come until later.  In the early days after discovery, he would get angry and defensive any time I pointed out his stupidity.   He had to eventually see it for himself.  We’re more than past this now.  But I remember feeling some vindication when he was able to see his mistakes very clearly. You can read more on my blog at

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