By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are absolutely furious after their husband’s affair. They are extremely resentful of the pain, betrayal, and humiliation that he has put them through and they want revenge. Many will come right out and admit that they want to make their husband miserable after he cheated or had an affair. And others are more passive aggressive about this. They might say that they want to save their marriage and move on, but they never pass up the opportunity to make their husband experience shame, humiliation, or misery for what he did.
And, as a wife who has been cheated on, I completely understand this. You can feel as if he has hurt you, so now it is pay back time and you are free to hurt him. I heard from a wife who said “I feel so petty to say this, but sometimes I feel like my sole purpose in life and my greatest goal is to make my husband miserable after his affair. And on the rare occasions that I feel guilty about this, I just remember back to what that jerk did to me. While I was home with his children, he was cheating and lying and having an affair with that skank from his work. For months, I could tell something was wrong in our marriage and he tried to make me think that I was imaging things and even went so far as to tell me that was crazy. He made me out to be this paranoid, awful person who was making unfounded accusations. But guess what? I was absolutely right. He was cheating. I did have a reason to be worried. And so now, he will pay for his lies. I want him to be miserable every day so that he can remember the mistake that he made by doing what he did to me. But my mother says this isn’t healthy. I say that the revenge of making him miserable actually makes me feel better and that’s what counts. He says he doesn’t want a divorce and I’m not giving him one because that would be letting him off easy. Because I want him to spend every day of his miserable life with me and remember what he did.”
Wanting Your Husband To Feel As Miserable As You Do Is Completely Understandable: It’s totally understandable that you might want your husband to feel your pain, especially if he lied to you all along when you confronted him about this very topic. Not only did he deceive you, but he tried to make you think that you were unstable, overreaching, and crazy when you were only stated what you already knew.
His actions were absolutely deplorable. You deserve to be angry. And it is understandable why you want revenge and even why this might even make you feel some relief, at least for the short term. But here’s something that you may not have considered. If you dig deep, you might be able to admit that it’s possible that you want him to feel regret about cheating on you. And you want him to feel guilty. However, if you are acting in mean and nasty ways (no matter who justified you might be in doing this) he is going to actually have an easier time justifying his cheating.
He’s going to look at your behavior and say or thing things like “see, no wonder I was driven to cheat. Look at how petty and evil my wife is. It’s miserable being married to her. Even the best, most honorable man in the world might cheat on her.” Is this really how you want him to feel? Because if you really want him to feel regret and guilt, then you are better off painting yourself in a positive light rather than a negative one – which leads me to my next point.
Understand That Making Him Miserable Will Often Prolong Your Own Misery: I know that you may not believe this right now because you might actually think that causing him pain relieves yours. But quite frankly, the opposite can be true. Because in order to make him feel miserable, you must continue bringing up, referring to, and rehashing the affair. This means that in a sense you are reliving it and dredging up the pain every single day. Your own misery and pain will begin to fade once you start to move on. You can’t do that if you are revisiting this every single day. By refusing to let him move on, you’re doing the same to yourself. Do you really want that?
Also, ask yourself why you want to stay married. Is it really only to make him miserable? Or is it because you don’t want to let him (or your marriage) go? Because if this is the case, then you’re pretty much ensuring that your marriage isn’t going to be a happy one any time soon. Don’t you want and deserve a happy marriage? Because by ensuring this his marriage is a miserable one, that ensures that yours is too. And I’m sure that you don’t deserve that.
I am telling you this because I had these feelings too when my husband had an affair. Making him miserable, guilty, and unhappy was my highest goal. Eventually though, I realized that I wasn’t really accomplishing anything by focusing on the negative emotions that were painful to me. Frankly, my wanting revenge was a symptom of my pain and a cry for help. Once I began to focus on healing myself, my meed for revenge lessened as well and I realized that my trying to keep him miserable was, in a sense, bonding myself. And I didn’t need or deserve that. So I found a way to quit. If it helps, you can read that whole painful story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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