If I Have My Own Affair Will My Husband Quit His Cheating?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are dealing with husbands who are repeat cheaters. These wives are often so tired of the lies.  In the beginning, these wives may have actually believed their husband when he promised he would never cheat again. But, over time and as he cheats again, she is less likely to believe anything that he says.

Believe it or not, many wives in this situation still wish they could do something to make their husband faithful because they are still invested in him. Some of these wives wonder if having their own affair or cheating themselves might give the husband a taste of his own medicine and make him stop.

I heard from a wife who said: “I just found out that my husband is having yet another affair. The last time I caught him, he swore he’d never look at another woman, and, like a fool, I believed him. And yet, here we are not even a year later and we’re going through this nonsense again. Clearly, he was lying all along. And clearly, those words he said and promises he made didn’t mean a thing. I want him to know how it feels to be in love with a liar and a cheat. I’m considering having my own affair and admitting it right to his face. If I did, would he stop his cheating? Would making him see how much this hurts scare him straight?”

It’s impossible for me to predict the future and guess as to how the husband might react to his wife’s revenge affair. But I can tell you that, in my opinion and experience, this is almost never a good idea. I will tell you why below.

Your Having Your Own Affair Isn’t Addressing The Problems That Caused Your Husband To Cheat In The First Place: There’s no question that having your own affair might get your husband’s attention. It might even hurt him. But there are no guarantee that it’s going to make him stop cheating. Why? Because your own affair is an external event that hasn’t done one thing to modify your husband’s behavior for the long term. Not only have you not identified the issues that might be contributing to his cheating, but you haven’t solved them. Instead, you’d added another problem and obstacle to the mix.

You Having Your Own Affair Might Actually Make Your Husband Cheat More Since He Can Now Justify His Behavior: I’ve actually seen this plan backfire more than once. Sometimes, the husband will actually have his own revenge affair as payback. Or, although he might be hurt by his wife’s affair, eventually he keeps right on cheating because her affair has made it easier for him to justify his behavior.  Is this fair? Absolutely not. But I am bringing it your attention because I want you to know that here’s every possibility that this plan will bring about the opposite result than what you were hoping for.

What You Might Want To Try (Instead Of Your Own Affair) To Get Your Husband To Stop Cheating: Let’s think about this for a second. The real goal here is to make the husband stop cheating so that the couple could save their marriage. In my opinion, there are better ways to do that than to add more cheating to the mix.  Here is what I see that typically doesn’t work. Trying to make your husband feel guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed about his cheating isn’t usually effective in the long term. Because eventually, he will associate his negative feelings toward you and this resentment will also allow him to justify his behavior – which will in turn make his continuing to cheat even more likely.

What has a much better chance of working is identifying why he might be cheating. And the reasons might actually surprise you. Men don’t always cheat because they don’t love or aren’t attracted to their wives. They don’t necessarily cheat because they are in bad marriages. Sometimes, the reasons they cheat don’t even have anything to do with their wife or with their marriage.

Some men have poor impulse control, have self sabotaging behavior, are attracted to risky or forbidden behavior, or cheat as a way to boost their self esteem or quiet their self doubt. And if these things are present, having your own affair isn’t doing anything to help your husband address these issues. In fact, often you can talk and plead and manipulate until you are bone tired but nothing changes because nothing within your husband has changed. It’s usually not until he learns new coping mechanisms, thought processes, and behaviors that the cheating or the risky behavior stops. And your cheating or not cheating doesn’t have anything to do with these things.

While I do understand to temptation to force him to feel how you feel, most of the time, adding a new affair to the mix only brings more pain, problems and turmoil. It’s almost always a bad idea.

Instead of thinking about revenge, consider thinking about healing.  Because if you can heal your husband, yourself, and your marriage, this is almost always better than reacting with your own negative behavior.  If it helps, you can read about my own healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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