My Husband Had An Affair And We’re Giving Our Marriage Another Try, But He Feels Uncomfortable Around Me

by: katie lersch: I often hear from wives who are trying to save their marriages after a husband’s affair but who are running into some issues as they go along. I recently heard from a wife who was very sincere about doing everything in her power to ensure that her marriage recovered. She was still shocked, furious, and struggling but she was trying very hard to place her focus on moving forward. So, she was most definitely doing her part.

And, her husband claimed that he was as committed as she was, but when the two found themselves together trying to reconnect and rebuild, it was extremely noticeable that the husband felt awkward and uncomfortable.  As such, these attempts at reconnecting weren’t going so well.  The wife said, in part: “I think that we’re both trying really hard, but it’s just not clicking.   I can tell that my husband is very tense and uncomfortable.  It’s not like I’m trying to make him feel guilty or bad or even that I’m bringing up the affair.  It’s just that the easy rapport that we used to have is gone.  He’s constantly shifting his weight and clearing his throat.  He rarely makes eye contact with me or holds my gaze.   His discomfort is almost worse for me than the infidelity.  Because we used to have such an easy, comfortable relationship filled with laughter.  And now it’s so awkward and forced.  Why does he feel so uncomfortable when I am trying to make this as easy on him as I can?  And is there anything that I can do to make it better more quickly?”  I’ll try to address these questions in the following article.

A Husband’s Being Uncomfortable After An Affair Is Normal, Even When Both People Really Want To Make It Work: The wife in this situation was really worried that her husband felt so awkward around her because his heart just wasn’t invested in the marriage anymore.  She worried that the husband was trying to “fake” his love and commitment to her and that’s why she was seeing him shift uncomfortably.  I could understand why she felt this way, but her perception wasn’t necessarily true.

Many times, a husband’s discomfort stems from guilt and things that remain unresolved.  He sometimes knows how difficult a situation that he has created for you and therefore, it’s very difficult for him to look you in the eyes and see the pain there that he created. And even when you’re reassuring him that you will survive and can recover, he can still have his doubts because he knows that he has made a huge mistake from which things might not ever be the same.

Does this mean that the comfort level will not return?  No, it doesn’t have to mean this.  It can mean that the process is going to take some time or that there are still issues that haven’t been addressed which are still causing some issues or awkwardness.  Sometimes, it’s best to try to have at least one candid but short conversation each day because when you are able to do this, the process does become a bit easier to navigate if only because you become used to it.

If Some Time Has Passed And You Still Notice The Discomfort, You May Want To Explore What Could Be Causing It: As I said, some discomfort is just part of this process.  But if weeks and months have gone by without any improvement whatsoever, you might want to explore if there’s still some large and unresolved issues that are causing problems.  Sometimes, the husband is very concerned that there is still some information that you don’t yet know and he’s nervous about this coming out.  Other times, the husband’s behavior is mirroring your own, although you may not be aware of it.  And in some instances, the husband is still feeling guilty and this is weighing heavily on him.

The way to make all of these things better is to keep communicating, keep trying to move forward, and to keep being honest about how you feel and what you are most concerned about.  The truth is, that all issues that an affair brings can eventually be overcome with honesty and with work, but this often doesn’t just happen on it’s own.  You have to be very proactive and you have to address things as they surface.   Much of the time, the things that come up will bring about fear and negative feelings.  Sometimes it can be very tempting to just ignore some of the more unpleasant things and hope that they just go away. But in my experience and observation, this is often a mistake.

Usually ignoring the discomfort will only make it worse.  No one wants to bring it up so avoiding it actually becomes just one more thing that you have to worry about and so the negative feelings only multiply.  Of course the wife in this situation wanted to feel that easy familiarity that had always defined her marriage.   And she wanted for this to happen immediately.   Although it would probably help to communicate and ask the husband if anything specific was bothering him, “getting things back to normal” after an affair will often take some time.

Once the husband was able to see the wife’s recovery and was able to show the wife that he was trustworthy, invested, and remorseful, his guilt level should start to improve and the wife would likely start to see his comfort level respond accordingly.  I want to mention one more thing.  The husband’s comfort is really not the wife’s responsibility.  She can’t make him feel something that he doesn’t and beyond offering some reassurances and continuing to move forward, the rest was up to him.

With that said, I felt that with continued progress and open communication, this was a situation that would continue to improve so that eventually it wasn’t the biggest issue that the couple faced. I was the cheated on, not the cheater, in my relationship.  But, my husband was the “guilty” and this negatively affected us for a very long time. Eventually, we came to know that healing and moving on is possible. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger than ever after my husband’s affair. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. You can read that personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

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