by: katie lersch: I often hear from wives who spend a great deal of time worrying about the woman that their husband had an affair with. It’s not at all uncommon to develop a sort of unhealthy obsession with her. And, while we’re developing this preoccupation with her, we often assume that our husbands are still doing the same. We worry that even if the affair is over, he still thinks about her or even still pines for her.
I recently heard from a wife who expressed these concerns by saying: “I’m afraid that my husband is still thinking about or longing for the woman that he cheated and had an affair with. I believe that he’s stopped all contact with her. I also believe that he’ll make good on his promise to try to save our marriage. He’s doing all of the external things right, but I worry about the internal things. I worry about his feelings because neither one of us can control those. I worry that he still has very intense and strong feelings for her, that he misses her, and that I will never be able to compete with this. He says my concerns are blown out of proportion and that I’m creating problems where they just don’t exist. But what happens when she’s in his life one day and gone the next? There was no closure. He broke it off abruptly as soon as I found out. So how can he just turn off his feelings like that?” I’ll try to discuss these concerns in the following article.
Men’s Feelings About The Other Woman Vary After The Affair Depending On Many Factors: The feelings that a man might have about the other woman will often depend on the circumstances surrounding the affair and will be influenced by how long the affair has been over. Although some men who visit or contact me through my infidelity blog will admit to still thinking about or having feelings for the other woman, many deny this. Most often, men will recount how they look back now and see how mistaken they were. They’ll say how things feel so differently (and are so much more clear) today. Many are ashamed or embarrassed of their actions and these negative feelings of shame can affect or counter any positive feelings that they might have thought they had toward her.
Also, many look back on the affair and realize what a high personal and emotional cost they paid for it. This too can pretty much temper any feelings that they might otherwise have had. Many will also tell you that the other woman manipulated them or portrayed herself as someone who she was not and that they are able to see her as she truly was as they look back now.
That’s not to say that some men don’t have positive memories or perceptions of the other woman. Some will still tell you that she was a decent person who was there for him at a time in his life when was struggling, but this is very different than still feeling emotional feelings toward her or wanting to be with her after the relationship is over. Many (but not all) husbands will tell you as soon as it’s clear that they might actually lose their wife or their family over this woman, the feelings will often fade quite quickly because he’s very clear on the fact that she is just not worth losing every thing over.
I’d like to make one more point. When many wives wonder about their husband’s feelings after the affair, their point of reference is themselves. What I mean by this is that we often look at it from our own point of view. We often wonder how we could be so completely involved with someone that we were willing to lie or cheat to maintain that relationship only to have that person gone from our lives seemingly overnight and with no closure.
But what we don’t realize is that a man often doesn’t approach this in an emotional way in the same way that a woman would. That’s not to say that affairs are only physical because studies and statistics show this not to be the case. Men do cheat for emotional and psychological reasons, but in my experience, observation and opinion, these emotions have much more to do with them than they do with the woman who they cheated with.
What I mean is that they are often more motivated by how the other woman makes him feel about himself than how he feels about her. He’s attracted to the fact that he feels desired, special, or validated. But, most men will admit that, other than the fact that she listened to and seemed to appreciate him, there was nothing particularly special about her other than the fact that she was available at a vulnerable time. The longer that the affair has been over, the more likely it is that the husband will have these sorts of feelings and can now see the affair (and the other woman) much more accurately and clearly.
Understand That You Don’t Have To (And Shouldn’t) Compete With Her. Your Best Bet Is Placing Your Focus On Rebuilding Rather Than On Looking Back: I completely understood the wife’s preoccupation with the other woman. Because we worry that any feelings or hang ups he has about her is going to impede or affect our ability to save our marriage. But often we would be much better off if we could focus on ourselves and our marriages.
Often, our preoccupation and worries about her only serves to continue to allow her into our lives even when physically, she is no longer there. This delays our progress and places our focus and our worries on a place and person who should be the least of our concerns. Because when you can successfully rebuild your life, your self confidence, and your marriage, you’ll find that you no longer have to worry about how your husband feels about her because you will know without any doubt where his loyalties, his feelings, and his priorities lie by the way that you are both fully present in your marriage.
I know that even contemplating this woman is painful and difficult, but make sure that you don’t give her more power than she deserves. When you turn your focus toward yourself, healing is often closer than you may think. It took a lot of work and patience, but today my marriage is actually stronger than it ever was before. I also did a lot of work on myself and am happier as the result. I no longer worry about my husband cheating again, If it helps, read my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/.
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