My Husband Admitted To Having An Affair, But He’s Not Ending It

by: katie lersch: I recently heard from a wife who was quite conflicted and confused. Her husband had come to her and admitted he was having an affair. He did this on his own. She didn’t suspect him and didn’t have the knowledge to confront him. Seemingly out of the clear blue, he sat her down and told her that he had an ongoing relationship with a coworker. He expressed deep remorse for this. He apologized profusely. He told his wife that he still loved her and their children. He insisted that he took full responsibility for his actions and insisted that, at some point in the future, he wanted to make their marriage work.

However, he seemed very unwilling and reluctant to end the affair. He admitted to the wife that he had “real and conflicted feelings” for the other woman and he felt that he just “had to see the relationship through and see where it went.” This floored the wife. She told me: “Essentially, he’s saying that he wants a relationship with both us. I just can’t believe this. How can he expect for me to try to work things out with him when he’s still carrying on with her? He has to make a choice because I can’t even deal with him unless she is completely out of the picture.”

Her position was completely understandable. Learning about a husband’s affair is bad enough. There are enough troublesome issues that come hand and hand with this. But, knowing that the other person is still in the picture makes it nearly impossible. The wife wanted to know if I felt that she should confront the other woman and tell her to back off. I felt that it was better to try to interact with the husband on this issue, which I’ll discuss more in the following article.

In My Opinion, Admitting And Taking Responsibility For The Affair Should Also Mean Making A Choice About Ending It: The husband was continuing to insist that the affair was all his fault and that he took full responsibility for it. But, he seemed to draw the line at choosing between the wife and the other woman and this was most certainly not fair to the wife. Sure, the husband was insisting that he eventually wanted to save the marriage, but his actions were not indicating the same. His actions were indicating that he wanted to hold on to both relationships until he decided which one was most important to him. In essence, his actions were saying that neither relationship was important enough to him to be exclusive.

These were extremely painful concepts for the wife. Because she very much wanted to save the marriage for the sake of her family. She was not ready to close the book on her married life. There was too much history, and, before the husband had made this huge mistake, they were presumably very happy.

But, the situation as it was now was completely unacceptable. It wasn’t even approaching before fair and repairing the marriage with three people in the picture was not at all likely. I felt that the wife needed to make it very clear that she would not participate in this situation. Of course, she was reluctant to do this. She felt that if she were too assertive, she would be pushing the husband further into the relationship with the other woman. But, what she did not consider is that the husband was already invested enough in this relationship that he was refusing to end it. And, he was putting her in an impossible position where she was being portrayed as second best. Most likely, this reality was not in her best interest.

Making Your Husband See That Being Responsible Means Making A Decision About The Other Woman: I felt strongly that the wife needed to be very assertive and direct. Perceptions were so important at this point and right now, the perception was likely that it was acceptable to treat the wife and the marriage as second best or as something that he could just return to if and when he wanted.

I felt that it might be advantageous to the wife if she sat the husband down and said something like “I know that you say that your sorry about and are taking responsibility for the cheating. But, ultimately, being responsible means bringing this to a prompt conclusion. I can not be in a marriage that involves three people. You’ve indicated that you want to continue on with your relationship with her. That may be so, but I can’t continue our relationship as it is right now while you are doing that. If you insist on taking time and space, then go ahead and do that, but I have to look at what is in my own best interest. When you are ready to go forward with our marriage being only the two of us, then we can take about that. Until then though, I’m going to be working on myself as an individual and focusing on our family.”

I was not asking the wife to file for divorce or to end her marriage. I rarely advocate that and I feel that most marriages can be saved after infidelity. But, allowing the husband to maintain a relationship with both women almost never works. Setting boundaries would at least put this wife in a more favorable position in the long run. In the meantime, I felt strongly the wife should focus on her support system, her family, and rebuilding her self esteem. She could not control the husband’s actions and behaviors, but she had complete control over her own.

There was a time when I thought I would never get over my husband’s affair. I truly had to learn to be more assertive, to set boundaries, and to ask for what I want. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at  I hope something there or here helps you.  On the side bar of this blog, there’s information about some free resources, in particular Dr. Huizenga’s free e course.

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