My Husband Is Delusional About Life After His Affair

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who feel very conflicting emotions. Although they are very relieved that their husband has ended his affair and recommitted to the marriage, they are very disturbed at his new outlook on life. He seems to have changed. And the changes, at least in the wife’s eyes, aren’t good ones. He may even exhibit thinking that seems a bit out there or delusional.

An example of the type of comment that I might hear in this situation is something like: “I noticed something really odd about my husband before I ever found out about the affair. And the reason for this is that my husband was not acting like himself. Prior to all of this, my husband was a very down to earth, stoic, salt of the earth type of guy. He was solid. He was predictable. Some might have said that he was boring but I don’t really see it that way. I like that he is predictable and that I could always count on him. But when he reached middle age, he started to hate our ‘boring’ lifestyle. He started to want to travel a lot more and he wanted to do things on the spur of the moment. He started complaining about being ‘tied down.’ He would blow off of work and this really bothered people at his office because my husband has always been so responsible. Anyway, this lead up to risky behavior – and eventually an affair. I caught him and I am relatively certain he has ended the affair. He has done everything that I have asked him to do – even going to counseling. But even the counseling isn’t helping with his attitude. I would say that it is almost delusional. My husband is now saying that he’s not going to work for pay for much longer. He says that he wants to take time off to embrace life and to travel and see the world and experience things with passion. We aren’t that old. We are decades away from the age when most people retire. The things that he is saying just aren’t realistic. Our children are older but they are still at home and still in school and they still need for us to be there and to be stable. My husband is talking like he just wants to shed a conventional life style and start doing precisely what he wants. He has said several times that the other woman made him feel ‘alive’ and I’m concerned that he’s never going to come back down to earth. Is this going to pass? I want to be supportive, but he is acting a little silly.”

If this weren’t an article about an affair, many people would read the description of the husband and think that he was having a typical mid life crisis. This is very typical of men (and a decent amount of women) when they get a certain age and take a look at their life and determine that there are some things that they would like to change while they still have the chance. In theory, this is understandable. But some people take it too far – which is when they are vulnerable to having affairs and doing other things that just aren’t typical of them.

Thankfully, many of them do work through this on their own. In time, they come to see that they were taking this to the extreme and that they can still make changes in their lives while still being their responsible and stable selves. Some men, however, need help with this, especially if this goes on for so long or is so extreme that it affects the family’s day to day life. Since this couple was already seeking counseling, the counselor was probably the best candidate to handle this. You might approach her privately and make sure that she is well aware of these issues. She might suggest that your husband see her separately and independently. (And it helps for her to be the one to suggest it.)

In many situations, with time, it becomes obvious to the husband that his wishes are not sustainable and just aren’t realistic. This can be hard for him to admit and to accept. But over time, it often becomes quite obvious and undeniable. You can help by trying to compromise when you can. Perhaps you can make it a point to travel quite regularly to exciting locations that you can both enjoy. That way, he is getting a dose of excitement, but he certainly doesn’t need to quit his job or live off the grid.  It is all about making him feel that his life is changing for the better, while not needing to change so much that it disrupts his family.

Another concern that I have about this is that the husband’s behavior might overshadow the healing that is needed from the affair. Even though this needs your attention, you shouldn’t ignore the fact that your needs, wants, and wishes are important too. The concern would be that the wife’s needs were being overshadowed by the husband’s new attitude.  Always make sure that your own healing is one of your priorities. If it helps, you can read about my own healing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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