My Husband Is More Concerned About Hurting The Other Woman In The Affair Than He Is About Hurting Me

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are very upset by the way that their husband seems to be protecting the other woman in the affair. Even though the wife is insisting that he break off the affair and have nothing whatsoever to do with the other woman, the husband is resisting this, in part because he is trying not to spare her feelings.

From the wife, I might hear a comment like: “I caught my husband having an affair. I think that this caught him off guard. He thought that he’d covered his tracks well but apparently he didn’t cover them good enough. He was absolutely shocked when I confronted him and I could tell that he wasn’t completely prepared for it. I insisted that he immediately call the other woman right there in front of me and tell her that they were never seeing one another again. I wanted for him to tell her that it was completely over and that he was completely off limits to her. I wanted him to stress that she was not to call, text, or see him. My husband was completely mortified by these suggestions. He absolutely refused. He said that he would not end things this cruelly. And that he needed to do this very gently. He says that he’s worried about hurting her. I was stunned at this. And outraged. He’s worried about hurting her? What about the pain that all of this has caused me and continues to cause me? Needless to say, my response to my husband was heated. And then he asked me to just give him a little more time in order to do this as gently as possible. I’m not sure how to handle this. Why would he care about her feelings more than mine?”

I can’t answer this question as a man who has cheated. I am a wife who has been cheated on. But I hear from a lot of these men on my blog. And I have some theories as to why they will sometimes act this way. I will share some of these insights below.

He May Feel That It’s Too Late To Control How The Information Is Received By You: Many husbands in this situation will swear that they are so sorry that you found out about the affair in the way that you did. But, once you’ve found out, there is no way that your husband can turn back time and change reality. He can’t make it so that you find out in a more gentle way that spares you pain. He can no longer control that, because the moment has passed. But what he can control is how the information comes to her.

I know that it is very hurtful that he cares about how she receives the information. Because you would probably feel better if it was as painful as possible. But, she isn’t likely to see this coming. And he probably doesn’t want to just spring it on her while you are sitting there listening. He probably wants to take control over what he can still control – how she finds out.

He May Not Have Been Entirely Truthful To Her And He May Want To Make That Right: It’s not uncommon for the husband to be worried that the other woman truly thought that the two of them had a future together. He may have given her this impression. Or, she may have come to this conclusion herself simply because this is what she wants or this is what she hopes will happen. Either way, he may be motivated to gently make it clear that this isn’t going to be happening. He may want to tell her face to face that the relationship truly needs to end. And he may wish to apologize for any part that he had in leading her on.

He May Want To Make It Very Clear That The Relationship Needs To Completely End And That She Needs To Stay Away From His Family: Sometimes, the husband has come to realize that the other woman is possessive of him. He worries that once she finds out that the affair is over, she’s going to try to contact or confront you. By talking to her in person, the husband may be hoping to avoid this. He may want to make it clear to her that you and his family are off limits.

How To Handle This: Understand that emotions are high right now. It can help to think about what is most important. And typically, that is going to be that he ends the relationship. I know that it might make you feel better if you know that he did this in a cruel way or in a way that is hurtful to her so that she won’t hang onto the relationship. But if your husband is resistant to this, you have to ask yourself if it is more important that he end the relationship or if your main priority is controlling how he ends it. To me, the fact that he really and truly ends it and makes his wishes very clear is the most important thing.

So you might say something like: “it’s very hurtful and upsetting that you seem to care more about her feelings than my feelings. I should be your priority right now. And I need for you to decide which one of us is more important to you. Because I won’t accept you continuing on with any sort of relationship with her. I need for you to tell her that it is over without any doubt. I need for you to communicate that she is not to contact either of us in any way and that after today, you are out of one another’s lives. If you need to say that gently, then do what you have to do in order to make her understand, but do it today.”

I totally get that this is hurtful, but look at it as the first step toward getting her out of your life. If he needs to break it off in his own way, so be it, as long as it makes it clear that it is really and truly broken off for good. If it helps, you can read about my own healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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