By Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives whose husbands have cheated more than once. This is bad enough. But sometimes, he is cheating with the same woman multiple times. I recently heard from a wife who said in part: “I was more than devastated the first time I found out about my husband’s affair. I knew the woman that he cheated with so this made it particularly hard. But we hung in there and tried to do everything possible to save the marriage. He insisted that the other woman meant nothing to him and I thought we had recovered. Fast forward eight months later. I found out that he picked right back up with the same woman and started seeing her again. I told my husband he obviously must love this woman because he can’t seem to let her go. He insists that he doesn’t and says he feelings for her are ‘complicated’ but are not love. He says love is what he feels for me. I am beside myself. How can he cheat with this woman twice (and probably still hasn’t let her go) and then claim not to love her? Because as silly as this sounds, I could handle the cheating better if I believed he didn’t love her. But how can I possible believe this?” I’ll explore this more in the following article.
Many wives share the opinion of this one. Countless wives have admitted to me that their husband being in love with the other woman is their greatest fear. Yes, the physical infidelity hurts, but the emotional infidelity is almost unbearable. Is it possible for a husband to cheat multiple times with the same woman and not love her? I believe it sometimes is and I’ll tell you why I feel that way.
Why It’s Sometimes Possible For A Man To Cheat With The Same Woman Multiple Times And Not Love Her: Before I begin sharing my opinion, I have to tell you that there’s no way for me to know how the husband in this scenario truly feels. I don’t know this couple or the other woman involved. He may well have emotional feelings and he might not.
With that said, I do sometimes communicate with men in this situation on my surviving infidelity blog. I have also done a lot of research on this topic. It’s my belief that some men cheat because of the way that the other woman makes him feel rather than because of how he feels about her. He’s often reacting to whatever pay off that he is getting. And this payoff can be her making him feel attractive, accomplished, powerful, or confident, etc. In other words, if she can address for him the insecurities that he is grappling with and provide some relief, then often his “feelings” for her stem from the way that she makes him feel better about himself. In fact, if you asked the same man what he found so attractive, irresistible, or appealing about the other woman, he usually will not list or name reasoning that has anything to do with her. He often won’t tell you that she’s a nice or good person whom he admires.
The wife often assumes he will talk about her looks or other talents, but this isn’t always the case. What you will usually hear instead is something of the effect that she listens to him. She understands him. She doesn’t pressure or question him. In other words, he feels some relief of stress when he is with her. So he isn’t necessarily going back again and again because of any love for her as a person or partner. He might be going back again and again out of love for himself.
Understanding The Most Important Issue At Hand: I completely understand that the fear that your husband might be in love with other woman is likely what is driving you right now. But, in truth, what is most important is that you have not yet recovered to the point where he is not repeating the same behaviors. Because if he was able to successfully address what lead him to her in the first place, he would not be nearly as likely to go back once again.
And sometimes, this is his own personal battle. You can support him in it but you can not necessarily fix it for him. You can strengthen your marriage and uncover any individual problems, but he also must be willing to act on any vulnerabilities that you have found. So where does that leave the wife in this situation? Well, although I understood why she kept demanding answers about his love for this other woman, I didn’t think continuing to ask the question was really doing her any good. Her husband was likely to keep right on denying any love and, quite frankly, in his own mind, he might believe that he was telling the truth.
The more important questions should be is he willing to completely distance himself from this woman, work on all issues that lead up to the infidelity, and commit himself to his wife and his marriage? Because if he were able and willing to do this and the marriage actually not only survived but strengthened, then at the end of the day, this other woman would truly only be a footnote in this couple’s history. But by continuing to bring her up and to demand answers about her, the wife was actually giving her more power and allowing her back in.
The better thing to do is to attempt to completely remove her from the equation and to make the marriage, and the recovery, about the husband and the wife and no one else. I know it’s easy to become obsessed with the other woman, but do not fall into this trap. The best thing that you can do is to close the door on her and move on. I had to do this same thing in order to save my marriage and maintain my own sanity and self esteem. If it helps, you can read more about how I was able to do this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/
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