My Husband Has Gotten Very Quiet After His Affair

By: Katie Lersch: Many people assume that as soon as someone is caught having an affair, they are going to suddenly want to start blabbing. After all, if they care anything about their spouse or about their marriage, they are going to want to explain this. And, in order to do this, it’s going to require a good deal of communication. So that’s why it can be surprising when a normally talkative spouse suddenly clams up after you find out about the affair.

You might hear a wife complain: “before I found out about my husband’s affair, he was a real chatterbox. My husband is very charming and talkative. He’s a sales professional so being able to effectively communicate is part of his job. This has never been a problem because my husband is just a natural talker. So, when I caught him cheating on me, I expected for us to have a lot of long talks in our immediate future. This isn’t what has happened at all. Instead, my husband has clammed up and gone absolutely quiet. Not only is he not talking about the affair, he doesn’t talk about anything else either. He doesn’t seem particularly angry at me so I’m not sure why he is shutting me out. Why would he go quiet like this?”

There are several possibilities, the most likely of which I will discuss in this article. But before I do that, I want to reassure you that this is a common situation. And you’re seeing it doesn’t necessarily have many implications on how things are going to turn out.

He May Not Know What To Say: Many men go quiet after the discovery of an affair because, frankly, what is there to say? They may figure that what has happened is pretty obvious, and, anything that they say isn’t really going to help matters. In fact, many think that their communication or conversation might just make you more angry or hurt. Often, they don’t want to insult you by offering up lame excuses that you are just going to reject anyway. They figure that if they start talking, you might misinterpret what they are saying. So, they figure it is best to keep their mouth shut until things calm down a little.

He May Not Have Any Words That Are Going To Make This Better: You know the old saying “sorry just doesn’t cut it?” Well, your husband may know this phrase very well and he may suspect that this is going to be your response to him as soon as anything comes out of his mouth. Men who go silent are often well aware that you have already told them that cheating is going to be a deal breaker or is going to illicit a very negative response in you. There is no mystery as to how you are going to react to anything that they are going to say, at least right now. So, as much as he might want to attempt to try to explain or to tell you that he is sorry, he knows that his words are going to be wholly insufficient.

How To Get Him To Start Talking: If you notice, much of what I discussed above is based on fear. Your husband isn’t talking because he’s afraid that you will reject or become angry by his words. So, getting him to speak up may require a bit of reassurance that this is what you want and need from him.

Often, when I tell wives this, they are resistant because they don’t think that they should have to beg him to start talking. They feel that it should be his responsibility to start talking, since he is the one who made the mistake. How is it fair that you have to drag the words out of him? I agree with this. I honestly do. But sometimes, if you stick with the self righteous approach, then you don’t get what you want or need and, what is the point of that?

I’d suggest having a short conversation like: “it really frustrates me that you’ve become awfully quiet. We both know that this isn’t like you. We both know that it’s your inclination to try and talk yourself out of anything. Why is this any different? I don’t understand why you’ve suddenly gone silent. It makes me think that you don’t care enough about me to put two sentences together and it makes me think the worst. I need for you to start talking even if you think that I am not going to like what you have to say.”

Now, once he does start talking, then you have to hold up your end of the bargain. You don’t have to agree with what he says or even like his words. And you are well within your rights if you want to debate with him over his claims. But, it’s important that you don’t shut him down or tell him that he is wasting his time because you are never going to believe, or want to hear, what he has to say. There is a difference between questioning his message and not being completely receptive to it and shutting it down all together. Once you do this, then it’s difficult to complain about him being too quiet.

After my own husband’s affair, communication between us was sparse and difficult.  Things did slowly improve once we slowly healed our marriage.  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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