My Husband Is Not Being Supportive After His Affair

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who aren’t getting the support that they expected and hoped for after their husband has cheated or had an affair. The expectation is usually that since he was the one who made the choice to cheat, then he must now do everything in his power to help his spouse to heal and to move past this. When this isn’t the reality, and the level of support does not even begin to meet expectations, it can be disappointing.

To that end, I might hear a comment like: “my husband cheated on me with one of our mutual friends. I have been struggling personally ever since. My husband ended the affair and, needless to say, I am no longer friends with the other woman. But, my husband has promised me all along that he is going to help me get through this. He promised to go to counseling. We have been for a couple of months and now he is getting tired of it so he has suggested that I go alone. The affair hurt my self esteem more than I can even explain. So it’s very important to me to improve my appearance. I have been going to a dieting center and gym and it has been working. I have also been getting my hair highlighted every six weeks and I also get a facial. People are telling me that I have never looked better and my self esteem is slowly coming back. The problem is that I no longer feel as if I have my husband’s full support. He has started to complain about how expensive all of this is. Sometimes, when I have my appointments, he will complain that it is taking time away from him. Basically, he never passes up the chance to tell me that all of my self improvement is expensive and potentially a waste of time. He makes me feel as if I am high maintenance when I feel that I have the right to be doing what I am. Is there an expiration date on his support? I feel like he isn’t with me for the long haul. He was only looking for a quick fix and now I’m apparently on my own.”

This is a very common problem. When people get caught cheating, they are often more than willing to make all sorts or promises and vows in order to get their spouse to agree to give them a second chance. But then when they actually have to start going to the counseling and making good on every promise, it starts to weigh on them after awhile. Some comment on my blog and tell me that despite their best efforts to have a good attitude, to be patient, and to show their support, it all starts to get old after a while.

And this really isn’t fair. My experience with counseling wasn’t always perfect, but one thing that the counselor said will always stay with me. My husband asked how long he was going to have to constantly reassure me, constantly answer my questions, and constantly be patient with my swinging mood. The counselor’s brilliant response was “as long as it takes.”

This may not sound all that appealing when you are the spouse who cheated, but it is necessary. So how do you make him see this? Well, you could try to get the counselor to help you stress it’s importance. And, if that isn’t feasible or doesn’t work, then you could try to have an open and honest conversation about this. The next time that he complains about all of the expense and effort, you might try something like: “I realize that it is expensive and extensive, and I’m not really happy that I have to do it either. Unfortunately though, this is necessary in order to fully and wholly recover from the affair. I am taking my healing and my recovery very seriously and I want you to do the same. I don’t want to just have a marriage that is limping along. I want a marriage that is healthy and fulfilling and even better than it was before. And that takes work and effort. I have been putting in that work and effort without complaint and I need for you to do the same. I don’t think that I’m being unreasonable. I need to feel good about myself and to restore my confidence. I still need the help and the insights of the counselor. I know that there will come a day when all of this is no longer necessary, but I am not at that place yet. And I don’t want to stop short before I get to the point where I need to be because that would really be wasting time and money. At this point, I don’t think my healing and my recovery is ever going to be a waste and I am asking for your support.”

Try not to have this conversation in anger. Try to keep your voice level and calm. Don’t call him cheap or unsupportive. Don’t sound critical. Make it sound as if you are trying your best and you need his help in order to be successful. Most spouses who are sincere will eventually see that you are right. They are often testing you a bit to see if they can offer you less. This doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. It’s just human nature. And, it’s important that you stand your ground so that you get what you need. No one is going to do that for you except for you.

This was a lesson that I too had to learn.  I’m not an assertive person by nature but I had to learn this.  Standing up for myself made my husband respect me more as well and it has actually helped our marriage. If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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