How Do I Know If I Still Love My Husband After An Affair. Because Right Now, It Feels Like I Hate Him

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s very common to feel very confused about your feelings when you find out that your spouse has had an affair.  On the one hand, you’re often so angry that you could do bodily harm to someone.  You’re so shocked, that you feel as if you need a second just to catch your breath.  And you’re so sad that it almost feels as if there has been a death of something very important to you.

But even despite all of our anger and other negative feelings, sometimes, in very rare and unguarded moments, we feel let down and disappointed.  And we feel this way because we are mourning the marriage and the love that we fear might be lost.  We are doing this because, despite our negative feelings, we can’t just stop loving our spouse in an instant.

Understandably though, it’s far easier to focus on the anger or hate than it is on the love.  And it’s normal to question if (or how) you can still love your spouse.  A wife might wonder if she could ever still love her spouse when it’s so easy to focus on the negativity that she is feeling.  She might ask a question like this one: “right now, I am certain that I feel nothing but hate for my husband. I can honestly say that I’m pretty sure that I loathe him.  I feel that he’s a liar with no integrity.  He acted like he loved me and that we were in a happy marriage and he was having an affair the whole time.  I told him that I didn’t want him in my sight and he is staying with friends.  And yet, I am sort of miserable here without him.  My mother says that I would not be this angry and this miserable if I did not somewhere, deep in my heart, still love him.  Could this possibly be true?  Because I don’t think that I’m stupid enough to love someone who cheated on me.  And, even if I did, how would I know? How could I see or feel the love in the midst of all of the hatred that I feel?”

What you are going through is absolutely normal. And it’s no wonder that you are having trouble sorting out your feelings when there are so many DIFFERENT types of feelings presenting themselves.

I remember that in the weeks following my husband’s affair, I could feel anger, self pity, indignance, and a wish to fight for my marriage all over the course of about five minutes.  I never knew how to react to these feelings.  At times I would lash out at my husband and I would push him away.  But then there were those rare occasions when I would want his reassurance and I would desperately want for him to chase me.

How do you know which of the feelings are real?  Honestly, I think that they are all real.  They are all presenting themselves to you because they are what you are feeling at this particular time.  I think that the more important question is which one of these feelings are you going to act on?

Frankly, I think that your mother is could possibly be right – at least partly.  I think that the strong feelings are in part occurring because you are invested in this man and in this marriage. This is understandable if you think about it.  The love doesn’t just stop because someone has disappointed us.  Sure, you may choose to turn away from that love.  You have every right to do that.  But this doesn’t mean that you don’t feel the love.  You can’t just turn it off like water from a faucet.

I think that your real question is how you will know if you want to act on that love or if you want to turn away from the love and your marriage.  Having gone through this, it’s my opinion that you often do not know this immediately.  You have to sit back and watch how your husband is acting and how much effort he is making in order to help you heal.  You also have to ask yourself whether or not, assuming that he does everything that he needs to do, you’re going to be willing to try to fight for your marriage despite what your husband has done.

Not everyone is willing to do this. Some wives fully know that they still love their husbands, but they can not get past the affair.  And some wives feel that this same love is worth fighting for.

I can share when my feelings of love for my husband started to count more for me than my feelings of anger.  At some point during our recovery, I noticed that I started to feel empty from my anger rather than energized from it.  When I first found out about my husband’s affair, I let that energy feed me.  It sustained me because I was not open to anything else.

After a while though, that energy was draining. Sometimes, I would say unkind things to my husband out of that anger and then I would look at the lost expression on his face and I would realize that he was hurting too.  And I would look at my husband and I would realize that ultimately, we were in this together. And I’d remember all of the kind and loving things he’d done for me.  And I decided that I was not going to make a decision about my marriage based on ONE mistake when there were COUNTLESS wonderful and good things that I could base my decision on.

I knew that I loved my husband despite all of this when I made a conscious decision to put the energy back into love rather than into hate. You can read more about that on my surviving the affair blog.

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