I Cheated To Get My Spouses’ Attention But He Didn’t Even Care

By: Katie Lersch: A good deal of people who cheat do so for their own personal reasons. They do it to feel better about themselves in some way. They do it because they have poor impulse control or because they have allowed themselves to be involved in a tempting situation. Some do it because they think that it makes them happy. However, there are a few who do it solely to get a reaction out of their spouse. And sometimes, they are quite disappointed by that reaction.

Here is what you might hear from a wife: “I know that this might not sound all that plausible, but it is true. I cheated on my husband only to get his attention. He cheated on me years ago and I frankly never got over it. So when a man showed me some attention and wanted to have an affair, I thought: why not? And I made sure that my husband found out because I wanted him to know. I wanted him to feel the pain that I felt. I wanted him to wonder what was wrong with him and what would make his spouse turn to someone else. I wanted for him to doubt himself in the way that I doubted myself after his affair. But he literally kind of shrugged his shoulders and gave me the silent treatment. That is it. He didn’t threaten to kick me out or to get a divorce. He just got slightly annoyed and seems ready to move on. In short, he doesn’t seem to care all that much. I am honestly starting to think that my marriage is over. I was hoping to shake things up and get his attention so that he would realize how much he cares about me. But now it has become obvious that nothing I do is going to make him care. And I guess now that I have cheated, our marriage should just end.”

Only you can decide what is best for your marriage.  But I am living proof that infidelity does not have to mean the end of your marriage.  It’s actually not that uncommon for the faithful spouse to “revenge cheat” in order to teach the original cheating spouse a lesson or to show him how it feels. I do understand the thinking behind this, but I can’t think of one time that I have ever seen it work.

Fanning The Flames:  When your post-affair marriage isn’t what you want it to be, the best course of action is to go to the drawing board and get some help in order to heal.  Although I can see why it’s tempting, the best course of action is probably not to pour more fuel onto the fire – because now you have a bigger fire to put out.  After that raging fire, there’s more damage to heal.

Checking Your Assumptions: You’re assuming that your husband doesn’t care, but your basing that on a reaction which he could have been purposely keeping close to the vest. He may be fully aware that you have acted with the sole goal of getting a reaction, which might mean that he’s going to dig in and give you exactly the opposite – which is no reaction. He could be angry or sad inside, but he isn’t going to show you that, because he doesn’t want to give you the satisfaction, since your actions were obviously made with him in mind.

I’m not saying that his reaction is correct. I’m just bringing up the possibility in case you’re wrong in assuming that he doesn’t care. He may care very much, but he doesn’t want for you to see it because of the hurt pride that an affair brings.  And he may be unconsciously trying to punish you with his indifference, but you would be the best judge of that possibility.

That’s not to say that getting back on track is impossible. It isn’t. But both people have to want it. And both people have to work hard. The healing process after both spouses have cheated is basically the same as it would be if only one spouse had cheated. The difference is that now both people must be rehabilitated. Both spouses must understand what went wrong with their intentions and behaviors and they must change both in the future so that the cheating doesn’t happen again. You also have to learn how to resolve conflict effectively so that you don’t attempt to hurt your spouse when things go wrong. It takes patience and effort from both people, but it is possible.

Only you can decide what you want to do or where you want to go from here. But the fact that you wanted to hurt your husband in this way might be an indication that you are still somewhat invested. Only you know if this investment is enough to motivate you to want to seek healing and rehabilitation. But in my experience, that is the only way to move forward. If you skip either of those steps, you allow damage of the affair to linger much longer than it should.  And it’s in this festering that the desire for revenge comes up.  For my purposes, it was better to just do the work (which wasn’t always fun) so that we could eventually move on for good.  While wanting revenge is understandable, it really is just moving backward, which isn’t in your best interests. You can read more about the work we did on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com.

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