How Long Do Most Men Stay Excited About The Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: When you know that your husband is having an affair and you see him acting like a child at Christmas time, it can be very painful. You know that his sense of excitement and anticipation has everything to do with the other woman. You worry greatly about this, but you have no idea what to do about it. Many times, you will hear that you need to be patient and that this will pass. But you wonder for just how long you are going to have to wait.

A wife might say: “I knew that my husband was having an affair as soon as it started. He’s never cheated before and I never thought that he would. But it was obvious. There was an actual spring in his step. When he would leave the house to go to work, I would actually watch him walk out the front door and go to his car and it almost looked as if he were skipping. Clearly, he was excited to be going to work, which was very unusual. So I started snooping around and I found out that, sure enough, he had been cheating. I was talking about this to one of our mutual friends who actually knows the other woman. She said that I should just wait it out. She feels strongly that this sense of excitement will wear out. And when it does, she feels that the affair will just naturally end of its own. I will admit, this idea does sound more attractive than having a big confrontation. But quite honestly, he’s been acting this way for months. I’m not sure that I can wait even more months for the excitement to fade. How long does it take?”

There is no set answer to this because every situation is different. However, I hear from a lot of couples in the middle of trying to muddle through one partner’s affair. In my view, the husband’s excitement will begin to wane due to a couple of possibilities.

First, it can wane because he seems to suddenly “wake up” and realize his mistake. Many men are not living in reality when they are carrying out the affair. They are able to compartmentalize their marriage and their affair quite effectively. In their minds, they will juggle this situation to the best of their ability while they hope that no one gets hurt.

But this rarely happens. Usually, the wife finds out about the affair and it’s quite obvious that someone has in fact gotten hurt. It’s quite obvious that there is a family at stake. And that can be when reality comes crashing down. And that can take the excitement right out of the situation. Because suddenly, it is not fun and games anymore.

Another possibility is that the excitement can begin to wane when the other woman begins to change her behavior. Very often, the affair starts out as a light endeavor with no strings attached. It’s all about having fun without any pressure involved. This works for a little while when the other woman begins to ask herself what is in it for her. She realizes that he’s leaning on her for escape but he isn’t really offering her much in return. This is about the time when she can start making demands.

And once this happens, the husband realizes that the reality he hoped for isn’t realistic. She’s going to start making demands on him, having expectations and disappointments, and then acting, well, more wife like. When it’s not longer and escape, it’s no longer as exciting.

Finally, nothing stays new forever. It just can’t. Once something becomes familiar, it usually isn’t exciting anymore.

Some wives will wait for the excitement to wear down. And others will confront him because they can’t stand to live the lie anymore. I can’t tell you that one tactic is better than the other. I have seen both work and I have seen both fail, depending on the circumstances.

I believe that the outcome has more to do with the commitment level of each person and with what both spouses decide in terms of their marriage. It can be very hard to make it work until he decides that he is done with the affair and with the other woman and he actually makes good on this by staying away.

At the same time, the end of the affair is only the beginning. There is much work left to do. The good news is that much of the time, the work means that your marriage is usually a much stronger one than you started with.

I know that you were likely looking for a concrete answer. You likely wanted me to say that the excitement lasts for a certain number of weeks or months. I’m sorry that I can’t give you this. Sometimes, reality hits earlier and sometimes it comes later. But most of the time, it comes eventually. The only question is often when.

I know that it is very hard to just sit and watch him act like this.  But I believe the best strategy is to focus on yourself and to tell yourself that your experience is not dependent on another person.  His mistake is not your mistake.  This is his mess to clean up.  Working on yourself is, in my view, never a waste of time.  Once I understood this, I was able to detach for a bit.  And that made all the difference. You can read more about how I navigated life after my husband’s affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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