If A Man Wants A Divorce, Why Doesn’t He Just Ask For It Before Cheating Or Having An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are nearly positive that their husband wants a divorce after they have caught him cheating or having an affair.  And many feel that this whole situation is an awful waste.  Because they wonder why he didn’t just tell them how unhappy he was or ask for a divorce BEFORE he was unfaithful and BEFORE he cheated or had an affair. This would make a lot of logical sense and would have avoided a lot of problems and pain.

I heard from a wife who said: “two weeks ago, I saw some things on my husband’s computer that lead me to discover that he had been having an affair.  When I confronted him, he didn’t seem particularly sorry and he said that he’d been very unhappy with our marriage for a long time. He said he went outside of our marriage because it was no longer fulfilling for him.  What a lame excuse.  If he was so unhappy, why didn’t he just divorce me before he went out and found someone else? Why be so cowardly that he had to betray me?” I’ll try to answer these questions in the following article.

A Man Who Cheats Doesn’t Always Want A Divorce: People often assume that a man who cheats is acting in some sort of passive aggressive way.  They assume that he no longer loves his wife or that the marriage has deteriorated so much that he wants to walk away from that same marriage or get a divorce.  This just isn’t always the case.  Yes, some men are unhappy in their marriages (although not all are.)  But sometimes, those same men hope that things will eventually work themselves out and some of them even think that getting their needs met outside of their marriage might actually buy them some time.  I know that this seems like twisted logic, but this is sometimes their thought process.  Many of them don’t anticipate getting caught either so hurting you is never even on their radar.

Sometimes, He Doesn’t Think That Approaching You Prior To Going Outside Of The Marriage Will Make A Difference:  Please understand that I’m not defending men who cheat.  As someone who has experienced this myself, I wouldn’t do that.  But, I am trying to share a possible thought process with you to help you to keep some perspective.  Men sometimes tell me on my blog that they didn’t approach their wife beforehand because they didn’t think that there would be any real resolution.  He will say that he felt as if that conversation was only going to make his wife angry with him and so the situation would have gotten worse instead of better.  I’m not saying that this is true. I’m just saying that this is sometimes his perception.

Aside From Whether He Wants A Divorce, What Do You Want?:  I notice that many women’s first concerns after finding out about the affair is how their husband feels and what he wants to happen.  They worry that he no longer loves them.  They worry that he wants a divorce.  They worry that he’s still thinking about or pursuing the other woman. But rarely is their first worry about what they themselves are thinking.  Remember that you have a say.  You get to decide how you feel and what you want and this is every bit as important as what he feels.  You matter as much as he does.

Why It’s Best To Put Off Talks Of Divorce:  It’s totally normal for your mind to automatically think about divorce after an affair.  Most people automatically go there because of the assumptions that I talked about earlier.  But many couples end up not divorcing even if this was their initial inclination.  When the affair comes out into the open, the emotions are so raw.  You will often want to do something very drastic to either make a statement or to stop the pain. The thing is, a divorce doesn’t always stop the pain.   Some people actually regret this once they have had enough time to reflect.

That’s why I recommend not making any snap or dramatic decisions.  You want to give yourself the luxury of time.  And often, both you and your husband’s perceptions, feelings and wishes change with time.  So it can be hard to predict what is going to happen or what you even want to happen. Yes, divorce is sometimes the end result even when you take your time to make a decision.  But this isn’t always the case.  So it makes sense to give yourself the time that you need and to not make any snap decisions or assumptions.

So to answer the questions posed, there are various reasons why he won’t ask for a divorce before having an affair.  Sometimes, he didn’t plan to cheat.  Other times, he didn’t think approaching you was going to help.  And other times, he might not want a divorce at all.

I will admit that my thoughts immediately went to a divorce after my husband had an affair.  However, I did not pursue this immediately because of my children.  Today, I’m very glad I made this decision because our marriage is actually stronger today than it was then.  If it helps, you can read about my recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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