I Want To Talk About My Affair And Clear The Air, But My Spouse Seems To Want To Pretend That It Never Happened

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from cheating spouses who are trying very hard to save their marriages. To that end, they often know that they have to talk about the affair in order to work through it. Having this type of discussion isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, but most people realize that it is going to be necessary. Sometimes though, this sort of conversation is very painful to the faithful spouse and some will try to avoid it altogether.

I heard from a wife who said: “last year, I cheated on my husband with a guy that I saw every morning in a coffee shop. We started talking every morning and one thing lead to another.  It lasted for about five months. And during that time, I did develop real feelings for the other man. But eventually I decided that I had made a commitment to my husband and that I was going to honor that commitment. So, I told my husband about my mistakes and I asked him to work with me to save our marriage. He agreed and I was so relieved.  But very shortly after my confession, I began to realize that he never wanted to acknowledge my affair, much less to talk about it. I am not defending my actions and I admit that the affair was totally my fault. But part of the reason that I cheated was because my husband never seemed to have time for me. I want to talk about this because at times I felt taken for granted and unloved. I feel like we need to talk about this. But every time I try, my husband will abruptly change the subject and warns me not to ‘go there.’ I don’t want to hurt my husband. But I feel like we do need to go there if we are going to move past this. What can I do?”

I agreed with this wife. Even though I was the faithful spouse in my own marriage, I know first hand that what you don’t talk about and work through will generally come back to haunt you later. If you don’t fix it once and for all, it will just lay in wait until you face a similar set of circumstances in the future. So I felt that it was vital that both parties opened up and started talking, which leads me to my next point.

Gently Continue To Call His Attention To The Issue: I know that the cheating spouse sometimes feels as though they don’t have the right to set the pace or the course of the healing. They often feel the need to let their spouse run the show. And this can work out just fine when you have a spouse who is motivated to heal. But when you don’t, sometimes you have to take the initiative.

That’s why I would suggest verbalizing your concerns at the next opportunity. So the next time that the wife tried to discuss the affair and the husband shut her down, she might say something like: “I notice that every time I try to talk about the affair, you refuse to discuss it. Believe me when I say that talking about it isn’t something that I am going to enjoy, but I feel that it’s necessary. If we don’t talk about it, resentment may build or questions may linger. We need to uncover and work through our issues so that we can strengthen and rebuild our marriage. I am not trying to hurt you or force you to do something that makes you uncomfortable. But I am trying to look out for what is best for our marriage in the long term. I want to have a healthy and happy marriage that lasts. And I believe that talking about this gives us the best chance of being successful with this. Will you help me do this? I want to be open and honest because I love you and I feel like you deserve the best marriage possible.”

If The Conversations Are Too Uncomfortable For Your Spouse, Consider Consulting A Neutral Third Party Or Exploring Self Help That Can Guide The Way: Sometimes, both people have committed to being brutally honest and to talking through this, but when they begin to have these conversations, they are either too awkward or too painful. So the spouse who is the most uncomfortable will often shut down or walk away. That’s why a skilled counselor can be very valuable, especially in the beginning. I realize that many people resist counseling and that it is not for everyone. In that case, you can often find self help resources to help walk you through this.  Many will give you starting topics, quizzes, or check lists that can keep you on track even when things get very rough.

But to answer the question posed, I believe that it’s important to have some brutally honest discussions after the affair even though I know that this isn’t pleasant or easy. This doesn’t mean that I think you should push your spouse if they truly aren’t ready. You shouldn’t alienate them, but you should stress that you want to talk about things to heal them rather than to hurt them. And if this isn’t happening on its own, you should continue to revisit it as gently as you can until the conversation flows more easily.

I do understand faithful spouses being reluctant to discuss the affair.  Discussions bring about pain and when your spouse has cheated on you, more pain is the last thing that you want.  But I also know that sometimes you have to work through your reluctance in order to get to the other side.  If it helps, you can read about my recovery on my blog http://surviving-the-affair.com

Comments are closed.

  • RSS Infidelity Articles By Katie Lersch

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Posts