I Don’t Love My Spouse Anymore After My Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from people who are now convinced that, after they have cheated and had an affair, there is no hope for their marriage. And, this isn’t because their spouse won’t ever forgive the affair. It’s because they have come to the conclusion that they no longer love their spouse and that their spouse deserves someone who can genuinely love them in the way that they should be loved.

So, I might hear a comment like: “I know that it was wrong to cheat on my husband. I am not proud of what I have done. I am most sorry because of my children. In a perfect world, they should grow up with parents who love one another and who are very much together. I’m sorry to say that this is not going to happen now. I have fallen in love with someone else. When my husband found out about the affair, I really did try to do the right thing. I told my husband that I would end the affair and I did. I tried my best to make it work. But it didn’t stick. Why? Because I don’t love my husband anymore. I honestly wish that I did. But when I look at him, I don’t feel anything. Oh, I feel affection for him because he is a good man and because he is the father of my children. But, I don’t feel passion and lust. I don’t feel true love. I don’t feel like I want to be with him for the rest of my life. I can’t feel these things because I feel them for the other man. My mother is disgusted at my behavior. She says that I am not giving my marriage a fair chance. But what are you supposed to do when the affair has made you realize that you don’t love your spouse anymore?”

I am going to try my best to give a very thoughtful response, but it is a bit difficult for me. As a spouse who has been cheated on, it would be easy for me to feel for and even to side with the husband. I’ve never fallen in love with someone else or cheated on my spouse. But, I have heard from many people in this situation on my blog so I do feel that I have a good handle on what feelings go into this. I have no problems believing that the unfaithful spouse can be in love with the other person. And I know that these feelings can be intense and difficult to ignore.

But I also firmly believe that when you are actively involved in a relationship with someone else, then you are looking at your spouse and at your marriage from a viewpoint that has been affected and distorted by the other relationship. In other words, I’m not sure that you can possibly objectively evaluate your feelings when you are juggling two relationships. You can’t objectively evaluate how you feel now and how you might feel six months or a year from now after you’ve had counseling or the time to rehabilitate your marriage.

Quite frankly, I have no way of knowing if you’ll be able to repair your marriage or restore your feelings for your spouse. But, I do know, without any doubt, that this is possible. I can tell you that neither my husband or I felt very loving toward each other after his affair. There were days when I didn’t care if I ever saw him again. There were days when I would look at him and I wouldn’t feel anything but flat or angry. When I look back at old journal entries from that time period, it’s clear that I didn’t feel anything that resembled love at all.

But the reality today is very different. I love my husband very much and I am confident that he feels the same. Restoring these feelings took work. And it took removing any thing that distracted us from rebuilding and healing. It took us sharing new experiences to write a new history for ourselves even when we weren’t feeling it and didn’t want to.

There were days when this all felt like a waste of time. But obviously, today, I’m glad I put forth the effort. I wouldn’t have wanted to start over again. I have children with my spouse and a shared history and that meant that I owed it to my family to try to rebuild this before I just walked away because of my own beliefs and discomfort.

Can I promise that you’ll fall back in love with your spouse? No, I can’t. And I’m certainly not a therapist, but I’m pretty confident that most would tell you that you won’t have a healthy relationship with the other man until you see the relationship that you already have to the end. You have unfinished business in your marriage right now. Doesn’t it make sense to give yourself and your marriage a chance before you just declare it over? I understand that you don’t feel that you love your husband. But it’s very hard to feel loving feelings under the current circumstances. That generally will only happen once you end the affair and give yourself the time and the resources to see if you can rebuild. I can’t tell you how many people comment on my blog and tell me that they deeply regret leaving their spouse for the affair, although they were sure that they were in love with the other person at the time.

I can’t tell you for sure how you are going to feel in six months.  But I can tell you that ending the affair will at least give you the chance to eventually evaluate your real feelings.  It took me a while to be able to see my husband in an objective light.  It took even longer before I felt loving feelings again.  But the process was more than worth it.  If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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