I Regret What I Said After I Discovered My Husband’s Affair. And I Don’t Know How To Take It Back

By: Katie Lersch: Many people confess with shame how they acted or what they said after they found out about their spouse’s cheating. They feel that they are unique in their reactions, but it might help them to know that they are not. Many of us say things that later make us filled with regret. Many of us do things that we wish could be taken back. But, frankly, I believe that we are harder on ourselves and that we judge ourselves more harshly than is necessary. Discovering an affair is probably one of the worst days that many of us will have. Therefore, it’s my opinion that what comes out of our mouths at the time is mostly forgivable and understandable.

I heard from a wife who said: “when I caught my husband cheating on me, something just overtook me. It was like I was acting outside of my own body. I could hear my words, but they didn’t sound like myself. In my own mind, I knew that I was becoming hysterical and that I was taking it way too far, but I couldn’t stop myself. Even as my husband tried to move away from me, I continued to follow him yelling hateful obscenities. I told him that he was a horrible person with no integrity. I told him that he had no character. I told him that I hated him and that I would make him pay. I told him that I would never forgive him no matter what he did. I told him that he could fall off the face of the earth and that I would be happy. I told him that I didn’t want to be in his presence ever again. He tried to reason with me but I told him that if he knew what was good for him, he would stay out of my line of sight for good. That night, he texted me and asked me if I would just calm down and promise not to make any snap decision until more time passed. I texted back that I never wanted to hear from him again. Well now that a few months have passed, I do regret the horrible things that I have said. I texted my husband last week and told him that I would now be willing to talk to him. He came by, but things were so strained between us. I tried to apologize for some of the things that I said but he told me to worry about it because I spoke my true feelings and that I should not apologize for what I truly felt. He said he accepted that there was probably no future for us because of the way that I now understandably feel about him. He said this very calmly. Now, I deeply regret what I said because it’s obvious my words were so toxic that I have destroyed my marriage. He made a horrible mistake, but this doesn’t make him a deplorable person. How do I even begin to take this back? At this point, I don’t know if I want to save my marriage or not. But it looks as if I won’t have this option because of what I’ve said.”

Try To Put Your Words In Perspective: I do understand this kind of regret, but I think that it is a bit misplaced. Sure, she said some hurtful things. But the husband’s actions were also incredibly hurtful that they were almost justified. And frankly, her husband likely understood her motivations and took them into account. And, with time and honestly, I believe that you can work around this if you truly do want to leave things open ended in case you want to save your marriage later. I will explain this more below.

If You Haven’t Yet Said What You Need To Say, Go Ahead And Do So: This wife had already tried to express her feelings about this once, but her husband had interrupted her and told her that he already understood. The next time, she might consider stopping him and saying something like: “I appreciate your saying that, but I really do need for you to just listen and to hear me out. I know that my words were understandable and maybe even justified but I regret them. And I want for you to know that many of them were not accurate. I don’t know what the future holds for us. I am still processing this. Yes, you made a huge, hurtful mistake that has me reeling. But I certainly don’t think that you are a deplorable person and I don’t hate you. I don’t want you thinking that I meant these things. I was just so shocked and hurt and I still am. But I took things too far with my words and I am sorry for that. No matter what happens, I don’t want you to think that I really meant everything that I said.”

If you find that he is still interrupting you, then you may want to consider saying this in writing.  That way, you can be sure that you have actually said what you meant to say.  The only downside with writing a letter is that sometimes the meaning isn’t clear.  Since he can’t hear the emotion in your words, you risk him misunderstanding the tone of what you are trying to say.  But sometimes, you have to settle for writing when you can’t get out the words or he won’t let you finish.

Then just listen to what he has to say. It is likely that he already knows that you didn’t mean these things if they were so out of character for you. Also keep in mind that apologizing for what you said doesn’t mean that you aren’t still angry and that you don’t still have a lot of work to do on your marriage. Just because you are apologizing for your words, this doesn’t mean that the reason for your words is erased.

I will admit that I said some very nasty things to my husband after his affair.  And when I calmed down, I realized that I was a little harsh.  But I always felt that it was the situation and not my personality or character that inspired my words.  And I think my husband understood this eventually.  We eventually overcame this and many obstacles.  If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog http://surviving-the-affair.com

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