My Family Doesn’t Offer Their Support Because I Took Back My Cheating Husband

By: Katie Lersch:  If you’ve ever dealt with infidelity, you know that it’s an extremely painful time where you need as much understanding and support as you can get.  Many people hesitate to share with others what they are going through, but if they choose to tell a select few, they do so in the hopes that those carefully chosen people will support them unconditionally and without judgement.

And it’s very disappointing when these folks who you have placed your confidence in don’t respond with loving support.  It can make you feel as if you’ve been betrayed twice or that no one really cares at a time when you need this the most.

A wife might explain it this way: “honestly, I don’t think that my family has ever liked my husband.  Of course, they participated in the wedding because they love me and want to support me.  But a few of my sisters and my mother repeatedly asked me if I was sure about it.  Admittedly, before he met me, my husband had the reputation as a ladies’ man.  He was always with different women.  He was considered quite the catch.  But once we became serious, he stopped flirting so much and I honestly felt that he had changed.  Well, unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case because I just found out he has been cheating on me.  He has promised to break it off and go to counseling.  So I have agreed not to leave him as long as he does what he has promised.  I am very close to my sisters and my mother and they know me very well.  They know when something is wrong with me.  When we were all shopping the other day, they asked me what was wrong and I started to sob.  It was obvious that something awful had happened and they asked me to share my troubles with them so I did.  They all immediately said they knew that my husband was all wrong for me and that they had never really trusted him.  They said that they would support me when I left him and assured me that we would get through this as a family.  At that time, I didn’t tell them that I had made the decision to stay with him because I just did not have the energy or will to debate about it.  But a couple of weeks later, they came over to my home and of course saw my husband still there.  Later, they asked me why in the world I hadn’t kicked him out.  I finally told them the truth and said that we were going to go to counseling in order to work it out.  They were clearly angry and they left without us going shopping as we had planned.  Since then, I haven’t heard from them.  I used to talk to my sisters and mother every day.  We used to get together every couple of days.  This hurts me very much.  I feel like I’m potentially losing my husband and now I might lose my extended family.  What can I do?”

I think that the first matter of importance is understanding that you are likely seeing this behavior because your family loves you, even though it may not feel like it right now.  They likely hate to see you hurt and they are angry at the person who hurt you (your husband.)  The anger isn’t directed at you, but I know that it can feel as if it is sometimes.

The goal should be to get them to understand that because you love them as much as they love you, you’re being hurt by them withdrawing from you.  Sometimes, you will just have to have an honest conversation about this and clear the air so that they understand that their behavior isn’t helping.

You might try a conversation like this: “I know that we haven’t been in touch in a few days and I miss you.  I know that you’re not happy that my husband is still here. I understand that you don’t want for me to be hurt.  I know that seeing me in pain hurts you.  But I know that what you really want is what’s best for me and for me to be happy.  It’s difficult for me to be anything but miserable without the support of my family.  I need you guys – now more than ever.  Please know that I am going to get professional help to deal with this.  The counselor will help me decide the best course of action regarding my marriage.  I’m in good hands in that regard.  Don’t worry about that.  I don’t need help with that. I have a professional advising me.  But what I do need, more than anything, is your unconditional love and support.  We don’t have to talk about my marriage when we get together. But I need for us to be together.  I need your support.  We have other things to bond over besides our marriages and I need that right now.”

Hopefully, this will bring them around.  And frankly, they will likely back off of their anger once they see that the counseling is helping you and they have some reassurance that you are going to be OK. They are acting out of worry, but their behavior is misplaced.  They can help you more by just being there without judgement.  Because even when life is perfect, everyone can benefit from a loving family.  Sometimes we just have to learn that we can love and support someone without being judgmental.

Since going through my own husband’s affair, I’m extremely careful about appearing judgmental around other friends or family members going through the same thing.  I know first hand that what these wives need for me is to just listen and to be there.  They don’t need for me to be their marriage counselor.  They just need for me to be their friend.  I don’t offer any judgement unless they ask.  And even then, I’m reluctant. You can read more about my gradual recovery at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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