I Don’t Like My Marriage After The Affair

By: Katie Lersch:  Quite frankly, some wives are shocked to find that they still have a marriage at all after their husband’s affair.  Many assume that the second they find out about any infidelity whatsoever, they are out of the marriage.  But, oh so often, it just isn’t that simple.  Sometimes, the husband just will not bow out gracefully.  Or perhaps it’s difficult to look at your children and consider that you left their father without at least thinking about saving the marriage.  Perhaps you tell yourself that you will leave in the days to come.  And yet, you never do.

Whatever the reason, many wives find themselves still married after the affair.  I need to be clear here.  I understand staying.  I did it myself.  And I’m not here to judge it.  But sometimes when you stay, you are still disappointed.  You find yourself in a struggling marriage, full of resentments and disappointments and you wonder if this is your fate for the rest of your days.  Or perhaps you think that you just need to pull the plug on your marriage if this is all you have to look forward to.

Someone might explain: “I honestly do not even recognize my marriage today.  I am not happy with it.  At all.  It’s like an old-person marriage, where the couple bicker and secretly hate one another.  It is the type of marriage that I swore I would never have. It all went to heck after my husband’s affair. I actually did pack my stuff, load up the kids, and stay with my sister for a while.  But the kids were whining and homesick, my husband was calling every night and begging me to come home, and my job was not so understanding about all of the time off.  So I reluctantly went back, but I told my husband that it might be only temporary.  He told me that he would take what he could get.  We did go to counseling, but I did not care for the counselor.  I started to dread going. So we eventually stopped. Now I’ve got a marriage that is barely hanging on.  My husband walks on egg shells around me because I am so angry all of the time.   We never have any fun.  Our kids are timid about everything.  I am not happy with this marriage.  But I am not sure if I would be happier divorced.”

I hear from a lot of people expressing the same sentiment.  You are not alone.  And you are not feeling anything that is not understandable.  I am going to make a suggestion and I hope that you will hear me out.  Many times, I considered calling it a day where my marriage was concerned.  I even took a break from it for a time.  But I can now say I’m glad that I stuck around – but only because I got serious about getting the marriage that I ultimately wanted.

People think I’m crazy when I say that a marriage crisis can be an opportunity.  I am not saying that it feels great at the time.  But I am saying that it does give you the opportunity to rebuild and to throw out what never worked and to keep what did.  It gives you the chance to learn new skills, throw away those habits that are destructive, and embrace new ones that are good.

It is one of those rare times where you have the chance to ask for – or even demand – what you want.  You may feel as if you have to settle for less, but I don’t think that this is necessarily true.  I know it’s frustrating when you do the right thing – get counseling or try to talk it out – and then be frustrated by the process.  I tried a few counselors as well as self help until I found some things that gelled with me.  That’s fine.  Everything won’t work all of the time.  Some things will fit and others will not. Give yourself permission to stop what isn’t working and to embrace and lean on what is.

There is no path that is right or wrong for everyone.  But, I would suggest that before you do decide to throw in the towel where you know that you may be equally as unhappy, you try counseling or other resources once more and you are honest with your husband about what is not working for you. Since you describe him as walking on eggshells, he may be very motivated to do whatever it takes to make things better.

I know that there is a perception that a marriage will always be damaged by an affair and can never return to it’s former good health.  However, there are plenty of couples who will tell you that their marriage not only recovered during the affair, but it made it stronger in some ways.  That is the way it happens sometimes.  I would never want to repeat a child’s illness, the passing of a parent, or financial difficulty.  But all of those things, including the affair, made my marriage a little more sturdy because each time, we bent but we did not break.  And that made us stronger.  Because we overcame.  You can read more about that on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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