My Spouse Doesn’t Seem To Care That I Cheated? What Does This Mean? Does My Marriage Stand A Chance?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from spouses who have just been outed for their cheating or affair. However, sometimes they are quite surprised as to the response that they are getting. Many expected a very emotional response which included everything from sadness, to fury, to devastation but what some get instead is almost an indifferent response.

One example is the husband who says: “I thought that my wife would get so mad when I admitted to my affair that she was going to kick me out. But this isn’t what happened. She said that she had suspected me all along and that she wasn’t about to give up the life and standard of living that she had become accustomed to just because I decided to cheat. She almost acts as if she could care less.”

Another example is the wife who says: “my husband confronted me about cheating and I couldn’t look right at him and lie so I admitted it. I expected him to kick me out, to file for divorce, and to seek custody of our son. But he hasn’t done any of these things. He’s just continuing to act as if nothing happened. He’s kind of cold and distant but he hasn’t really addressed his anger. I would almost prefer it if he’d scream at me or tell me off, but he just continues on with his cold, detached demeanor. How can he act as if he doesn’t care about my affair? Does the fact that he doesn’t seem to care mean my marriage is over? I just don’t understand it.”

There are many reasons that you might not be getting the response that you expected regarding the affair. But these responses don’t always mean that your spouse doesn’t care. I will explain more below.

Don’t Be Fooled By Your Spouse’s Detached Or Unexpected Reaction To Your Affair. Sometimes, It Takes Time For Them To Express Their True Feelings: Sometimes, what you are experiencing right now is the calm before the storm. Often, people need time to process events like an affair because it is just so shocking and unsettling. And some people want to take their time in formulating their response because they know that there is no taking back their actions and their words once they put them out there.

Also, sometimes your spouse just isn’t sure how he or she feels. People often describe it as being “numb” or “being in shock.” If you’ve ever witnessed someone after an accident or other unexpected tragic event, you will often see similar behaviors – that sort of detached, delayed reaction that typically will come before their more authentic reaction take place.

I am not telling you this to insist that your spouse’s anger will soon come forward. No one knows that for sure. But as someone who has dealt with my own spouse’s affair, I can tell you that the faithful spouse’s feelings can change very drastically on a whim. You can be numb one second and furious the next. You can be sobbing in the morning and coping better by the afternoon.

Here’s one more consideration. Many spouses are fully aware that your not being able to read their response is painful to you. In fact, it was quite possible that the spouse in the above scenario was fully aware that yelling and having a strong reaction would be a relief to the wife who just didn’t know how to react to the indifference. Quite often, they know that their silence and their indifference can actually be more painful or confusing to you than more straightforward, negative emotions.

How To Handle It When Your Spouse Doesn’t Seem To Care That You Had An Affair: To be quite frank about it, your spouse’s reaction to your affair is a completely separate issue than your own reaction and wishes. Start by asking yourself what you really want. Take your spouse and their reaction out of the equation and just worry about your own feelings.

Because if you really want to save your marriage, then you have bigger issues to worry about than your spouse’s lack of a response – at least in the beginning of the process. Know that their true feelings will  eventually come out as they have more time to process this and as you begin the rehabilitation or healing process.

Don’t rely too much on their reaction to tell you the future state of your marriage. Feelings, perceptions, and intentions change very rapidly when infidelity is involved. Quite honestly, if you were to ask my husband in the week after I found out about his affair about the future of our marriage, he probably would have bet money that we would be divorced by the year’s end. I was that furious with him. But as time passed, my feelings and wishes changed.

Likewise, just because your spouse is acting like they don’t care about your affair (at least right now) this doesn’t mean that you are in the all clear or that you don’t have some major making up to do.

They very likely do care more than they are letting on and there is a good chance that you will see changes in their reactions, feelings, and wishes in the days ahead. But in the meantime, you should act in ways that are in line with what you truly want. If you really want to save your marriage, then the best thing that you can do is to begin the healing process despite your spouses lack of a reaction. I can nearly guarantee you that they are watching your behaviors very closely right now and that your actions are very likely going to influence their feelings and their plans in the future.

Because my reaction swung from one emotion to another after my husband’s affair, he had no idea how I really felt about him.  And to be honest, I had no idea either.  It took me a while to get my bearings and to determine what I wanted and how I truly felt. Eventually though,  not only did our marriage survive, it thrived.  But it took a lot of work.  If it helps, you can read that very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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