If He Lied About The Affair, Can The Marriage Be Saved?

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes hear from people who worry that all of the lies about the affair are going to mean that their marriage can’t be saved.  Sometimes, the person who had the affair has started to tell the truth, but other times, they are still lying.  And this can leave the faithful spouse wondering if their marriage even stands a chance.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband denied that he was cheating for six months before I caught him.  He told me that I was being paranoid and he would get so mad at me when I would continue to bring up my suspicions when he very forcefully told me that he was not cheating.  I just could not shake the feeling that not only lying to me, but he was cheating too.  So I kept a close watch on him and eventually I caught him cheating so that he could not deny it any longer.  Now, even as we are trying to save our marriage, I will still catch him in lies sometimes.  And when I do, he will tell me that he’s just trying not to hurt me or that he doesn’t feel like I need to know each painful detail.  Despite all of this, I want to save my marriage more than anything, but I’m worried that his lying means that this just isn’t going to be possible.  Are my doubts justified?”  I will try to address these concerns in the following article.

You Are Right To Be Concerned About The Lies:  This wife was absolutely right to be concerned about her husband’s lies (and the fact that he was continuing to lie.)  It’s common for people to lie about cheating because they do not want to be caught or because they do not want to hurt their spouse.  But once the affair is out in the open, the lying should stop.  The key word in that last sentence is “should.”  The lying should stop, but it doesn’t always stop for a variety of reasons.

Spouses will sometimes continue to lie because they still want to spare their spouse’s pain.  Sometimes the cheating spouse figures that the more information that the faithful spouse obtains, the more painful this entire process is going to be.  Other times, they are trying to spare themselves some blame.  They know that their behavior was deplorable.  But to the extend that they can, they want to keep just how deplorable their actions were to themselves.  And sometimes, they have just gotten into the habit of lying and find it hard to start telling the whole truth all of the time.

As you can see, often your unfaithful spouse will believe that they have a vested interest in continuing to lie (or to at least omit some of the truth.) That’s why it’s important for you to make it clear how vital it is that they stop lying, which I’ll discuss right now.

Making It Clear That The Lies Must Stop:  There are various ways that you can try to make it very clear that continued lies aren’t acceptable.  The first way to is to have a frank discussion about this topic. So, the next time your husband attempts to slide a lie your way, you might say something like: “we both know that you are not telling me the truth right now.  And the lies must stop.  You are telling me that you want to save our marriage, but your lies contradict your claims.  I realize that some of this may be due to the fact that you don’t want to hurt me.  But in order to heal and to begin to restore the trust, I have to know that I can believe what you say.  And you need to know that I’m not going to just accept what you tell me if I feel that I can not trust you. That’s why I need for you to tell me the complete truth from this minute forward.  The lies infuriate me and erode our trust more than the truth ever could.  So will you commit to telling me the truth.”

Typically, after you make a speech like this, you are going to need to follow through.  So, if there is something that doesn’t sound right, question him again or follow up.  With that said, once you notice that he’s giving you no reason to distrust him, then you will need to eventually show some good faith that you are trying to do just that.

How Marriages Are Saved After The Lies That Follow The Affair:  I have seen many marriages be saved after the lies that follow infidelity.  But in almost every case, the unfaithful spouse eventually begins to tell the truth and they never stop.  Now admittedly, your marriage can be saved or can work with lies if you turn a blind eye to them.  That’s not what I am talking about here.  I’m talking about returning to a healthy marriage that is filled with trust because both parties know that they can trust the other to tell the complete truth at all time.  When lies have come before this, then this is not always a quick or easy process.  It takes work. And restoring the trust can be a very gradual process.

The person who has lied must know that it their responsibility to give their spouse no reason to distrust them in the future.  They must always tell the truth even why lying might be easier.  And the person who has been lied to has to commit to eventually letting go once your spouse has proven themselves to be trustworthy.  As you might gather, this process can take time and it’s not always smooth sailing.  But to answer the question posed, yes, I do believe that the marriage can be saved when one spouse has lied about the affair.  But this can often only happen after that same spouse decides to start telling the truth once and for all.  And both parties must commit to doing whatever it takes to rehabilitate and save the marriage, even when it is not always easy.

I had to make it very clear early on that I would not, under any circumstances, tolerate any more lies.  And, after my husband gave me no reason to continue to distrust him, I had to take a leap of faith.  It wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it.  If it helps, you can read our story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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