My Spouse Doesn’t Seem Committed After His Affair. What Can I Do?

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes hear from people who are very disappointed to discover that, despite their spouse’s claims to the contrary, they are just not seeing a lot of commitment after the infidelity.  Sometimes, the cheating spouse will promise that they will move heaven and earth to help save the marriage if only they are given the chance to do so.  But when the faithful spouse has a little faith and offers up that chance, a lack of commitment is sometimes the result.

I heard from a wife who said: “after I caught my husband having an affair, he panicked.  He made me all sorts of promises.  He said that if I would just give him one more chance, he would be the best husband that I could possibly imagine.  He said that not only would he go to counseling, he would do all the work to find us the best counselor.  He said that he would make our marriage and our family his highest priority.  He said he would prove himself to be trustworthy and loving. Well, it has been six weeks since I found out about the affair, and we have not been to counseling once.  He never found a counselor.  And he comes home late all of the time.  When I ask him where he has been, he doesn’t give me direct answer and he seems annoyed that I’m suspicious.  He hasn’t been to our children’s events with me in several weeks.  In short, the kids and I pretty much exist on our own. He rarely joins us. He isn’t particularly affectionate to me.  He acts as if he doesn’t care if I’m angry or not.  I sense a real lack of commitment from him.  Why is he acting this way? And what can I do? Because despite this, I still want to save my marriage.”  I’ll try to address these concerns in the following article.

He Might Be Showing A Lack Of Commitment To See if You Will Accept Less From Him:  It’s not unusual for the cheating spouse to try to feel the other spouse out in order to see what is going to be acceptable behavior.  As soon as the affair is found out, often panic ensues.  It’s typically then that he will say or do anything to get you to give him one more chance.  But when his words or actions have the desired affect and you suddenly agree to giving him that chance, he will sometimes back off on his claims.

I know that it is frustrating and unfair, but very few men are going to be terribly excited about going to counseling or feeling as if their wife has them on a short leash.  They’ll tell you that they don’t want to feel as if their wife is their mother or that they have to get permission from her for even very basic things. In short, they don’t like having to check in.  They don’t like feeling like a criminal who needs monitoring in their own home.  I’m not defending them by any means.  But I am sharing with you what I hear from them in this situation.

Often, the idea of having to go through all of the rehabilitation and sharing their feelings just sounds very unpleasant.  They worry that they are handing over their manhood because you are going to be watching their every move.  They feel as if they will constantly have to ask your permission for even very innocent things.  And they worry that they will forever be the “bad guy” in your marriage. So sometimes, they will try to see if they can get away with not making good on all of their claims.  At the very least, they figure that it is worth a try to see just what you will allow, which is why it is so important to stand your ground if you find this upsetting or unacceptable.

How To Respond When You Aren’t Seeing The Commitment That You Want After The Affair:  You have a couple of choices, depending upon how much this bothers you.  First, you can just observe for a while and see if he will abandon this tactic when it becomes clear that it’s not going to work.  Or, you can attempt to speed this process up by directly addressing it.  If that is what you decide to do, the next time that you are bothered by this lack of commitment you might consider saying something like: “after I found out about the affair, you promised me that you would go to counseling, be accountable, and be present in our marriage.  And, as of right now, we don’t even have a counselor and you are late again. This is in direct contrast to the promises that you made to me.  I have to tell you that the lack of commitment that I am seeing from you makes me have doubts.   I need to see that you mean what you say and that you care enough to do exactly what you have promised.  Please tell me where I’m wrong but so far, I’m not seeing the commitment that you promised.  Is there a reason for this?  Have you changed your mind?  I need for you to be honest with me because this isn’t fair to either of us.”

This conversation will hopefully prompt the husband to either start showing some commitment or to be honest with his wife about why he has been holding back. Sometimes, it is just posturing.  And sometimes, he still hasn’t sorted out how he feels or how he wants to proceed.  Either way, he should follow through with his claims if he expects his wife to believe what he is saying and if he wants to truly wants to save his marriage.

Sometimes, a husband just needs some time to settle down and get to work and other times, he is posturing.  I had to lay down the ground rules in my own situation in order to get my husband to understand what I expected from him.  This was frustrating, but once I was clear, things improved and eventually we did save our marriage.  If it helps, you can read our story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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