My Husband Is Angry At My Reaction To His Emotional Affair. How Do We Get Past This?

By: Katie Lersch: Sometimes, when one spouse discovers that the other has acted inappropriately, all hell breaks loose. Fury reigns. The faithful spouse is so mad that she can barely function. And the cheating spouse is sometimes shocked and taken aback by this anger. The anger can be so strong that both people are kind of overwhelmed by it.

The cheating spouse often doesn’t know how to respond, gets flustered, and responds with defensiveness which turns to anger. So now you are in a situation where both people are indignant, lashing out, and furious. It can get to a point where the affair has somehow ended up on the bottom of the heap. All each party knows is that things have gotten really bad, that they are living in an angry household, and that they don’t know what to do next.

Someone might describe it that way: “I was using our computer last week and I wanted to look up a new computer that I was considering buying. Unfortunately, I had already closed out the window so I had to look in my internet history, when I did, I noticed a messaging app that my husband had clearly been using excessively. With a little patience, I was able to log into this app. And what I found devastated me. My husband was chatting away with a coworker about things that had nothing to do with work. There were inside jokes. There were complaints about their spouses. There seemed to be intimacy. Admittedly, there was no talk of anything physically inappropriate. And as soon as I confronted my husband about an emotional affair, he was very quick to say that nothing physical had happened. He keeps harping on this fact over and over. I’m glad that no physical line has been crossed. But the emotional line that has been crossed is more than enough. I am furious and I honestly considered asking my husband to leave. At first, he was patient as I lashed out at him, but he soon lost his patience and started lashing out at me. He said that he is not going to sit there and let me be abusive to him. He says that I’m using this relationship as an excuse to be nasty to him, when in fact they never crossed the line. He says I’m just trying to get the upper hand using something that isn’t a huge deal. We are both so angry that we are no longer speaking and the tension in our house is so thick you could cut it with a knife. I don’t know for how long this can go on. But I don’t know where we go from here when we’re both so mad that no one is going to make the first move.”

I have been in this situation and in my experience, there are basically two choices here. You can try to break the stalemate on your own. Or you can get outside help. I don’t think it hurts to try on your own first. I know that it’s hard because you very rightly feel that he is in the wrong. And you feel resentful that you might have to be the one to start the conversation.

You would be right about that, but sometimes you get stuck in a situation where you both feel right and indignant and therefore you can not move forward. Here is some phrasing that might be a conversation starter: “I don’t have to tell you that things are quite difficult for both of us right now. It’s obvious that we are both angry. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to keep going down this path. I’d like for both of us to be able to put aside our anger – just for a little while – to see if we can make any progress. I get that you did not appreciate my response. And I hope you understand why I was so upset. If you had seen those messages to a male coworker of mine, I am sure that you would be upset. But continuing to act only on our anger isn’t really getting us anyway. Do you think that we can set the fury aside momentarily just to discuss where we might go from here?”

Then, just listen to what he has to say. He may have been waiting for you to open the door all along, or he may continue to dig in his heels. You don’t want to be the one making all of the concessions. But if both people give just a little, you can usually begin to make slow progress.

If the anger still persists and you just can’t seem to break it, you can pause and try again a little later, or you can consider a third party or counselor to help you through this. Sometimes, they are invaluable for allowing both people to feel heard and to get the conversation started.

But make no mistake. You have every right to be upset and just because he’s angry, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have your concerns addressed. The key is to be able to address it so that no one feels diminished or disrespected to the point where they just shut down. Because that doesn’t do anyone any good.

It took quite a while to get the conversation rolling after my husband’s affair. Honestly, I just was not open for a while.  And once we were both ready to talk, it was awkward.  We just had to keep trying and push through it.  Sometimes, I think it was my own stubborn determination that got us over the hump. You can read more about this time period at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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