By: katie lersch: I sometimes hear from spouses who deeply regret cheating or having an affair and are now looking for a way to make things up to their spouse to return the love to their marriage. I often hear comments like: “I want my wife to look at me with love in her eyes like she used to before my affair. But when I tell her this, she says that she doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to trust or love me again. She says that the love between us may be gone for good because of my betrayal.”
Another example is: “my husband says he can no longer love me after I cheated on him even though it was a one time thing and I was drunk at the time. He says that he doubts that he will ever be able to get over this and that when he looks at me, he longer feels any love. He just feels disgust. Is there any way for him to prove to him how sorry I am and to make him love me again?” I’ll address these types of concerns in the following article.
Although You Can’t “Make” Your Spouse Love You Again After Your Infidelity, You Can Prove To Them That You’re Worthy Of Their Love Over Time: Although I believe in the sincerity of many of the people who contact me, I have to admit that I sometimes can’t help but have concerns when I hear someone ask how to “make” or “get” their spouse to love them again. Although I know that the person reaching out doesn’t intend it in this way, “making” someone love you almost implies that you’re not giving them free will over their own feelings or perceptions.
So, before I go any further, I have to say that you shouldn’t want to “make” your spouse do anything that wasn’t their decision or desire to begin with. And, any action that they take as the result or coercion, guilt, or trickery isn’t likely to be all that sincere or lasting anyway. When people tell me that they want to make their spouse love them again after cheating or an affair, I think that what they really mean is that they want to restore the trust, the healthy relationship, and, eventually, they want back those loving feelings that they took for granted.
This is possible, but it generally doesn’t happen over night and it usually doesn’t happen with out a lot of effort, sincerity, and time. You have to understand that your spouse is justified in having their doubts. You have betrayed them once before, so it is understandable that they are going to have their guard up because they fear being hurt again.
However, if you care enough to be present, to have patience, and to demonstrate the behaviors, attitudes, and emotions that can prove to them that loving and trusting you again is safe, then you have a good starting point from which the rebuild.
Bringing Back The Loving Feelings In Your Marriage After Infidelity: I know that a lot of people are going to disagree with me when I say this, but I don’t think that the love disappears overnight – even after cheating or an affair. I’m speaking only from my own experience when I say that, although I was furious with my husband after his cheating and wanted to believe that I no longer loved him, looking back now I see that one of the reasons that I was so very angry was because my pain stemmed from the fact that I did love him so deeply but that he threw this love away with his betrayal.
So, at least for me, the love was still there, but it was buried beneath layers upon layers of anger, resentment, and betrayal. With that said, eventually the loving feelings returned. But this wasn’t because my husband “made” me love him again. It was because over time, he proved to me that he was sincere, he was trustworthy, and he was willing to do whatever it took to save our marriage.
It may not seem fair to you right now, but many faithful spouses are waiting for you to “prove” to them that your current actions and behaviors can eventually make you lovable again. But, before that can happen, you have to prove yourself not only trustworthy, but you have to act in a way that is meant to heal your spouse and address their wishes and needs rather than your own. Because, it’s likely that in your spouse’s mind, you’ve already put yourself first when you betrayed them. So, now is the time to put their needs first and put your own needs and wants on the back burner.
This might mean agreeing to go to counseling with them (or at least intensely and attentively listening to their feelings and concerns and being willing to work through them.) It often means not trying to make excuses for your behavior but taking responsibility instead. You’ll often have a better chance at good results if you make it very clear that you’re willing to do whatever they need for you to go to give them the reassurance and the accountability that they often need to start their healing. It’s important that you make this about them rather than about you.
So while in my opinion you can’t “make” your spouse love you again after infidelity, you can exhibit the behaviors that might eventually return the loving feelings between you. But, this will often take time. Because quite often, they are watching and waiting. They are going over your actions and behaviors with a fine tooth comb to see if you are sincere, truthful, and trustworthy. They are often waiting to see if your behavior is going to go hand and hand with your words or if you are just continuing to lie to them in order to get what you want.
And they often have their doubts if you really love them and really want for them to love you back. Many just can’t wrap their minds around why you didn’t love them enough to remain faithful but are now so desperate for the love to return. I’m not telling you this in order to paint a bleak picture. I’m telling you this because I want for you to understand how they really feel and what their reservations might be. It’s certainly possible for your spouse to love you again after infidelity, but you’ll often need to overcome their doubts before this can happen.
As I alluded to, there wasn’t any magic words my husband said, nor was there anything he did to “make” me love him again. It’s just that over time, he proved to me that he was sincere and completely serious about doing whatever was needed to save our marriage. Eventually, his behaviors confirmed to me that it was safe to let down my guard and feel loving feelings toward him once again. If it helps, you can read the rest of the story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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