My Cheating Husband Seems To Think That Publicly Declaring His Love For Me Will Make Everything Better

By: Katie Lersch:  It’s very common for husbands who have been caught cheating to try to declare their love for their wife immediately afterward.  Because once it is clear that they might lose her, then they realize how catastrophic their behavior has truly been.  Sometimes, the wife might find this somewhat reassuring, but rarely does it even begin to approach being enough.  Although the words are nice to hear, they don’t make everything OK.  Not by a long shot.

A wife might say: “if you can believe this, my husband cheated on me with a vendor that we hired for our daughter’s wedding.  I am relatively certain that this is the only time my husband has cheated throughout our very long term marriage.  I will admit that planning this wedding has been very stressful.  Apparently the other woman called my husband pretending that she needed to meet to discuss something about the wedding.  I will never understand why my husband didn’t see something fishy about this.  Why would anyone want to meet with him about the wedding and exclude me, the mother of the bride?  Anyway, my husband was very naive and stupid. He admits that.  But honestly, that doesn’t matter to me all that much.  Because his stupidity doesn’t erase my hurt and humiliation.  I believe my husband told me about this because he was afraid that the other woman would make the affair obvious at the wedding.  I hated the thought of her being there, but it could not be avoided and I didn’t want my daughter to suspect anything.  At the wedding, my husband made a toast and instead of talking about my daughter and her new husband, he went on and on about his love for me, our marriage, and how he hoped my daughter could have the kind of life and love that we have had.  I guess he thought I was going to be happy about this because he acted quite proud of himself afterward.  I was appalled.  That was not the time or place. His words touched me, but I didn’t want for them to be put on display.  He said that he wanted for every one to know how much he loved me.  He said that he wanted for me to know it.  He wanted our friends to know it.  And he especially wanted the other woman to know it.  Well, I want him to know something too.  None of this makes any of it OK.  It doesn’t even make a dent in my pain.”

I absolutely understand.  Reassurance is nice.  But it is not healing.  It doesn’t undo what has already been done.  But nothing says that you have to accept this for anything other than it was – an attempt by your husband to reassure you of his love and commitment.  And so that your reaction is clear, there is nothing wrong with explaining.

You might say: “I’m honestly not sure how I feel about what you did.  I appreciate all of those things you said about me, but I don’t think it was the right time or place for it.  And it doesn’t really change anything for us.  Although it tells me that you still love me and you are aware of everything I’ve meant to you, it doesn’t take away that you put all of those things in jeopardy.  It doesn’t change the fact that in order to maintain that marriage which you talked so eloquently about, we have an awful lot of work to do, and even then, I don’t know what the outcome is going to be.  So while I was touched by what you said, I want to make it clear that we are still at the same place where we started – with a very damaged marriage that will need to be repaired.  What you said told me that you are willing to do the work to repair it – and that does matter to me – but we are at the very beginning stages.”

This way, you haven’t insulted him.  And you have acknowledged his effort, but you have also made it very clear that it really changes nothing.  At the same time, I hear from a lot of wives who would give anything for a husband remorseful enough and sincere enough to make a speech like that.  So, I agree with you that it matters.  And it’s very nice starting point.  And there is nothing wrong with using it for that – someplace to start with a good amount of goodwill and motivation.  But it doesn’t begin to make it OK.  And as long as your husband understands this, then there’s probably no harm done.

The folks at the wedding likely thought it was  a touching speech by a proud father and husband – and nothing more.  And the other woman likely got the message loud and clear.  So now it’s time to let that incident go and begin the healing process – provided that is what you want.  Because no matter what words your husband says, it really is your choice.

My own husband made quite a few public displays also.  It was as if he thought he had to prove his love in public.  I am a pretty reserved person and it always made me uncomfortable.  So I asked him to say these things privately.  And this gave him a better result, so he finally clued into the fact that he should keep our marital business just between us. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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