My Husband Gets Mad When I Laugh About His Affair

People often assume that the wife on the other side of the affair feels only painful emotions like sadness, fear, and anger.  Would it surprise you to know that some women actually laugh sometimes after the affair has been found out?  It seems odd, I know.  But some wives just can’t help but laugh at the irony of it.  Or they will laugh because it forces them to see their husband in a unflattering (and somewhat humorous) light. Needless to say, the husband isn’t always a good sport about this humor, which can make it difficult to salvage the marriage.

Someone might say: “I know that this is going to sound weird, but I often find myself laughing in my husband’s face about his affair.  Yes, I am doing it to be mean, at least somewhat.  But also, there are parts of it that are genuinely funny.  Like, for instance, my husband met this other woman in an airport bar.  She is ridiculously young.  I can just picture my awkward, aging husband trying to stammer out charming, hip words to her.  I can’t get that imagine in my head without laughing.  Then I picture her all wide-eyed and trying to act like she is genuinely interested in him and genuinely cares.   That too, is funny.  Of course, as soon as I found out and I was tightening my grip on the finances and such, she broke it off with my husband because what good is a sugar daddy who can’t support you?  That made me laugh, too.  My husband says he wants to save our marriage.  Sometimes I want that too.  Other times, my anger gets the best of me and I think that maybe I will just leave him.  The thing is, I put a lot into this relationship and I worked a long time to be in a stable home.  I hesitate to throw this all away only to have to start over again. But then when my husband and I are trying to just communicate about our marriage and the affair, I will ask him questions again about how things went down and of course I will laugh again because I get this mental image of this old man in the airport.  He gets angry and says I portray him like an idiot.  I don’t want to state the obvious –  but he DID act like an idiot so why can’t he just stand up to it now?  I don’t know how to shut down my laughter.”

I do understand your dilemma.  But I think you need to ask yourself what you really want.  If you are no longer invested in your marriage, then there’s no harm in letting your feelings, and your humor, show.  However, if it could be remotely possible that one day you might want to repair your marriage and want your husband to remain faithful (and not cheat again,) then you have to be careful of how you phrase things.  Why? Because your husband likely cheated EXACTLY for the reasons that you’ve stated – he’s an aging man who is awkward.  So when this young woman (even though she was faking) pretended to be interested in him, it made him feel relevant and competent.  He responded BECAUSE he felt exactly how you see him – aging and unsure. When you highlight these insecurities, you just reinforce what made him cheat in the first place.  Does this mean that you have to build him up when you’re furious with him?  No, it doesn’t.  But I would let your counselor bring out these types of details so that you don’t have to.  That way, there is less of a risk of your laughing.

In truth, your husband likely knows deep down that what you say is true.  He knows that its a cliche that young women prey on older men for money.  He knows deep down that she probably did not think that he looked like a movie star or that he was as funny as a comedian. Yes, he WANTED to feel like it was all true.  He maybe even enjoyed pretending that it was true.  But deep down, he likely knew that it wasn’t reality.

I do get why it feels good to laugh at him.  I know how it feels.  You WANT him to feel embarrassed and ashamed so that he will think twice about cheating again.  However, those feelings of inadequacy are contributing factors to an affair. You don’t have the responsibility to build him up and it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to, but I’d strongly encourage him to do individual counseling or self work so that’s he not continuously vulnerable.

I do understand why some of this is humorous.  I really do.  But if you do decide to save your marriage, that inclination to laugh will hopefully start to wane because you’ll have more important things to worry about.  In time, you may even begin to see that in a way, it’s as sad as it is funny.  It’s painful to feel old, irrelevant, and vulnerable.  Yes, he tried to ease these feelings in the worst way possible.  And one could see that as pathetic.  But one could also see that as sad.  Now he’s not only sad and aging, but he’s a sad and aging man whose wife is laughing at him for this.  I’m not trying to make you feel bad.  I laughed at my husband too at times.  But at some point, you have to be able to feel some empathy if you chose to save your marriage. I understand that none of this is easy and that it’s important to laugh if you can.  Saving a marriage after an affair is not for the weak at heart.   You can read more about how I managed to do it on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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