My Husband Had An Affair And He Says He’s Going To Divorce Me. I Think That He’s Just Bluffing

By: Katie Lersch: It’s not uncommon for the concept of divorce to be mentioned after the discovery of an affair. It is most often mentioned by the faithful spouse, but either spouse can bring it up or can seek it. Sometimes, when the cheating spouse brings up a divorce, the faithful spouse can wonder as to whether or not this is reverse psychology or a bluff.

I might hear from a wife who says: “I caught my husband having an affair last week. I suppose I shouldn’t say caught. What I should really say is that I finally picked up the obvious clues he was leaving because it appears that he wanted to get caught. Once the confrontation came up, my husband was very indignant and defensive. He said that he wouldn’t have had to cheat if we had a good marriage and, since we don’t, he’s going to pursue a divorce. I hear his words, but I have my doubts about them. For one thing, a divorce would be extremely costly financially for him. For another thing, he has always said that he would never divorce because his parents’ divorce was very painful to him. So I think that he is just blowing hot air. I think it is his hope that I will suddenly fall over myself and say ‘oh please don’t divorce me. I will start behaving differently and I will work with you regarding the affair.’ In short, I think that this is just his way of getting me to not come down too hard on him about the affair and to not make him do very much to make this up to me. I can’t imagine that he would really want a divorce, but I am not sure how to respond to this.”

You may be absolutely right in your guesses. It’s not uncommon for the cheating partner to posture or to act in a certain way in the hopes of manipulating their spouse into being a little more agreeable in the aftermath of the affair. Needless to say, many faithful spouses see right through this and don’t fall for it.

It is really up to you as to how you want to respond, depending on whether or not you want a divorce and depending upon how you want to position yourself going forward. I believe that it is best to try to be honest and forthcoming, even when he is not. Because if you are both just posturing, it is very hard to get to what is real. And it is never more important than now to do so.

He could possibly be trying to back you in a corner in the hopes that you will immediately say “no I don’t want a divorce. Please don’t divorce me.” But, this is a disservice to you, who has every right to be angry and every right to take your time deciding how you want to move forward. By doing this, he is trying to be the one making the decisions. It is up to you if you want to play along or not.

I would suggest trying to buy some time if you are not yet decided on where to go from here. (And this is true in most cases because you just need time to process this.) A suggested script in order to do that might be something like: “that is your prerogative. But all of this sure would be life changing – an affair and a divorce in the blink of an eye is a very drastic life change. Of course, you can have your own wishes and your own opinion when it comes to our marriage but, only speaking for myself, I don’t plan to make any abrupt decisions. Too much has happened too quickly for me to be thinking clearly. And just reacting to you in anger or in an attempt to gain a position really doesn’t do either of us any good and it certainly doesn’t do our children any good. I can’t stop you from pursuing a divorce, if that is what you truly want. I just think that this whole thing is very sudden and, most times, sudden and rash decisions without considering everything involved don’t turn out very well. I can only control myself and right now, I am only taking things one day at a time and not trying to look too far ahead.”

Once he sees that he isn’t going to get the desired response out of you and that you’re not panicking and begging him not to divorce you, he may decide to change strategies. Also, when you are straight forward with him, this encourages him to drop the posturing and talk to you like two equal human beings, once of whom has made a very unfortunate mistake.

My husband did try to posture with me after his affair, but it didn’t even work temporarily.  I was very clear on the fact that I wasn’t going to play these types of games.  If it helps, you’re welcome to read more about how I attempted to handle this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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