My Spouse Can’t Look Me In The Eye When Crying About Having An Affair

I sometimes hear from wives who are not as touched by their cheating husband’s tears as he might hope.  On the one hand, it can be extremely jarring to see your grown husband cry.  On the other hand, most wives worry that he is just putting on a show because he has been caught. Some wives say that it’s a pretty pitiful show, with the husband overcome with emotion, but unable to look at or talk to his wife while sobbing.

A wife might explain, “I don’t get my husband’s tears.  He’s like a little boy who has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and has been spanked.  I am extremely furious at him so I know that he feels my wrath.  I try to put myself in his position and I know that I’d be sweating bullets right now if the roles were reversed. So I don’t envy him at this point.  But every time we try to have a conversation about the affair, he starts sobbing.  He can’t even get out the words.  He just cries and shakes.  I will ask him what is wrong and he will just shake his head.  I will ask him if he has anything that he wants to say and he’ll just shake his head and not even meet my eyes.  Is he embarrassed to be crying? Is he putting on an act?  Is he angry at me so that he doesn’t want to look at me?  What is his motivations for turning on the faucets?  Why is he crying, but not talking or looking at me?”

This is only speculation on my part, but I believe that a good deal of it is tied up in guilt and shame.  I think it probably hurts a man’s pride quite a bit to cry and to carry on repeatedly.  Many wives think that their husbands are faking, but I think that being overcome with emotion for every conversation would require a man to be a very good actor AND to be willing to humble himself repeatedly.  Not every man is going to meet this criteria.  Perhaps I am naive, but I believe that many people (men and women included) who are caught in an affair are genuine when they cry.  I’ve heard from many cheating spouses in this scenario and none of them have admitted to fake crying.  Instead, they admit to legitimately crying all of the time.  They are overcome with emotion.  Plus they are usually very ashamed.

I have never cheated, but I could only compare it to the time when I was in a hurry and I accidentally locked my dog in the car with the keys inside.  I noticed what had happened right away and I immediately called for assistance.  A locksmith had to come and use tools to get the dog out. But before the locksmith arrived, he was frantically scratching at the door and looking at me confused as to why I wasn’t helping him.  He started to pant, pace, and panic.  By the time the dog got out, he was hyperventilating and I feared that this was going to hurt him.  Even though and he was ultimately safe and fine, I cried about this incident for days afterward, even though my tears meant nothing.  I was so angry at myself because I got distracted and put my dog (who at the time was like my child) in danger.  I kept thinking about the worst case scenario and it was weeks before I wasn’t thinking about it constantly.  And yes, every time I looked at my dog, I felt guilt, shame, and pain that brought me to tears.  This went on for some time.  Luckily, the dog had many more happy years with me and I spoiled him rotten.  So, as time went on and I didn’t repeat my carelessness, I thought about it less and less.

I can only speculate, but I’d think that being the guilty party in a betrayal as serious as an affair is an extremely heavy burden to bear. To see someone that you love hurt so deeply has to almost rip your heart out.  After the car locking incident, every time I saw my dog, I got a mental image of him panting in that hot car.  And even the sight of him would start me balling again.  I’d think about how I’d have felt if my carelessness had truly harmed him.  I’m sure your husband is feeling something similar.  He sees you and the very sight of you makes him face the seriousness of what he did and what he has put at risk.  It is painful to face up to this.  In my case, I didn’t mean to hurt my dog.  I was hurried and this made me careless.  That’s why your husband’s pain has got to be much worse than mine – he knows that he made a decision that could have went either way and he chose the decision that hurts the people that he loves.  And now he has to attempt to look those people in the eye and he can’t.  He’s ashamed.  And embarrassed.  And probably horrified at what he has done.   I can’t claim that there are no men who don’t put on an act when they cry.  But try to imagine if the roles were reversed and you had to face your hurting husband.  Would you cry? I know that I would. I’d cry repeatedly and uncontrollably – if my dog story is any indication.  And I might initially have a hard time looking at my husband because doing so would mean that I’d have to see his pain, which would in turn be incredibly painful for me.  It’s almost like it’s so bad that you have to look away, but that is because you are sorry and not because you are not sincere.

You spouse might be crying, at least in part, because he fears that he’s ruined your chance at a happy, and lasting, marriage.  This is common at first.  It can feel as if things will never be the same again.  But in time, they can be.  It just takes a lot of work. You can read more about the work we did and about our recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com.

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