My Spouse Never Wants To Be Alone With Me Since My Affair

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from spouses who deeply regret cheating on their spouse and who are now ready to get on with the work of saving their marriages. These spouses will often tell you that they would be willing to do just about anything to save their marriage if only given the chance.

The problem, of course, is that sometimes the spouse who was cheated on does not feel so generous about offering up that chance. Sometimes, the faithful spouse stops just short of kicking the cheating spouse out (which is a relief) but refuses to be alone with the cheating spouse. This can make working on the marriage quite difficult and it can make the cheating spouse wonder if she is going to ever have the chance to make this right.

An example is: “I regret cheating on my husband more than words can express. At this point, I don’t care what I have to do in order to get his faith back and keep my family. I am willing to do anything. But it doesn’t seem as if he wants to give me this chance. Don’t get me wrong. I am so grateful that he didn’t kick me out. He has every right to hate me. I cheated on him with a friend that he has had since grade school. We were drunk, but that’s no excuse. And there is certainly no excuse for me to continue it on the way that I did. I am very thankful that he has decided to give this a little time. We have children. I don’t want to tear my family apart. So I am grateful for the little victories and concessions that I have been given. But I worry about the future. Since the affair was exposed, my husband has not spent any time alone with me. He sleeps on the couch. He talks to the kids when we eat dinner but he does not talk to me. We met his parents for brunch last weekend and he talked around me, but he never addressed me directly. I have asked him when he’s going to be comfortable being alone with me because at some point, we are going to have to talk at length. And in order to do that, he is going to have to stop and be in the same room with me. But his response to me is that I have no right to make demands of him and that I should take what I can get for now. Is he right?”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t clear what kind of time line we were talking about. But, I think if the affair was so fresh that it had been weeks instead of months since it was discovered, it’s not completely unusual for the faithful spouse to avoid the cheating spouse. I don’t know this husband nor can I speculate on why he might be avoiding his wife. But as a spouse who has been cheated on, I can share with you why I avoided my husband at all costs at first.

I believe that the main reason that I didn’t want to spend any meaningful time with my husband at that time in our lives was because I was so angry. And as long as we were around our kids and other people, I was able to keep the lid on this anger because I didn’t want to boil over in front of every one else, especially our children. Frankly, I was afraid of my anger. Because I knew that once it started to boil over, it was going to spew out and potentially never stop.

Also, I knew if my husband got me alone, he was going to give me some sob story about why he cheated and he was going to list the reasons that I should give him a chance. Plus, he was sure to make me all sorts of promises. And I wasn’t interested in hearing it when the pain was so fresh, although I was interested it in hearing those things later.

The point is, when you try to see this from your spouse’s point of view, you could see why they may hesitate to have intimate or difficult conversations with you right now. Avoiding being alone with you is one way that they are attempting to handle this as best as they can. It’s very important that you understand how hurtful this likely is to them and how much they are struggling. Please try to give them the benefit of the doubt and be patient with them. In my own experience, rushing them or pressuring them is the worst thing that you can do.

So how do you handle this? You might want to try to ease the tension a little by addressing this directly. You might want to gently say something like: “I notice that you are uncomfortable being alone with me and I completely understand that. I don’t want to push or pressure you. I want you to know that I will wait for as long as it takes and I will be there when you are ready to talk. If you’d rather talk in the presence of a third party like a counselor, I’d be willing to do whatever would make you comfortable. I just wanted you to know that I will wait for whatever pace is comfortable for you. But I didn’t want you to mistake my lack of pressure as disinterest or my being passive. I desperately want to save our marriage and help you heal. But I understand that this is all going to be on your time frame and according to your comfort level. I’m here if you need me and I’ll wait to get a signal from you that you are ready to move forward.”

Be as gentle with the delivery as you can. Your spouse might still be angry, hurt, and confused. But they are likely likely to appreciate and acknowledge that you are both taking responsibility and not pressuring them. And these things do matter. At least it mattered to me.  All in due time, I was more comfortable being alone with my husband.  But I would not have appreciated it if he had pressured me. If it helps, you can read about my healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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