My Spouse Says That In His Mind, Our Marriage Was Over Before His Affair. But It Wasn’t Over For Me. And It’s Not Over Now

By: Katie Lersch: Very few wives truly buy their husband’s excuses for having an affair. Even if you can see a little bit of validity in what he is saying, very few of us can go from seeing a somewhat valid point to totally excusing him for cheating on us. We often think he’s just flinging ridiculous excuses our way – especially if he goes so far as to claim the marriage was over before the affair even happened.

A wife might say: “I can not believe what kind of nonsense my husband is trying to feed me. I caught him cheating with a woman at his work who I have always intensely disliked. I never trusted this woman and I always felt like she had questionable intentions toward my husband. I always felt like she was just waiting for her opportunity to pounce. My husband told me that I was paranoid and crazy. Well, it’s not so crazy now because he’s been cheating with her for about six weeks. I asked him how he could risk our marriage over someone as low class as this woman. His response to me was: ‘I considered our marriage over at the time. Our marriage was dead to me long before I even thought of her in that way.’ I have to admit that this stopped me in my tracks. He never had any negative things to say about our marriage at that time. He seemed reasonably happy, to be honest. None of this makes any sense because he’s suggesting that maybe we go to counseling and he’s not making any move to leave. Why isn’t he moving out if he thinks our marriage is over? If he was so unhappy before, why isn’t he getting out of here and going to be with her? He says that he has no interest in her anymore and that he’s open to see what is going to happen with us. I have my doubts though, because of what he said. Why would he say our marriage was over to him and now be showing this interest?”

Well, this is only my opinion, but it appears that there are a couple of possibilities. The first is that he’s exaggerating the claim that he thought the marriage was over. Sometimes, people don’t want to face the enormity of what they have done, so they will try to diminish it by acting like it wasn’t that great of a loss anyway. The claim that the affair wasn’t so catastrophic because the marriage was over beforehand would be a good example of this. He’s trying to make it seem as the affair didn’t have a consequence because the ending might have been the same.

The second possibility is that he may have thought some variation of the thoughts he’s claiming, but now that he’s faced with the reality that his marriage might end, he’s singing a different tune. He may not have anticipated how much he would panic or be saddened at the thought of losing you or the marriage.

The truth is, people caught cheating will come up with a large variety of excuses. Some of the time, they believe or buy into their excuses and sometimes, they don’t. But I believe that you have to take things said right after the affair is discovered with a grain of salt. People panic. People realize that they have to say something dramatic. And emotions can make both sides say things that they don’t mean.

I think the more important question (which you might not be able to answer so soon) is what do you want now? Where do you go from this place? You may not even know if he really thought the marriage was over before the affair. This could be completely untrue. But, it’s probably more important to know how he truly thinks right now. How does he see the marriage today? How do you see it? Are you willing to accept that you might see it differently if healing takes place? Are you open that healing might be possible?

As I said, sometimes, you are not ready to answer these questions so soon after the affair. And that is fine and understandable.  You don’t need to pressure yourself.  But I think if you aren’t sure about the validity of the excuses he’s giving, then perhaps you turn your attention away from that for just a while. The truth has a way of coming out in time. For now, perhaps you just accept that he might be giving you the excuse that he believes will make him seem the least guilty. This certainly doesn’t mean it’s true. And if it is true, that will come out in time.

But in the beginning, it’s best to take things day by day. The panic at being caught cheating will cause you to blurt out all sorts of excuses that you didn’t really think out completely. And the shock at making this discovery will sometimes cause you (the faithful spouse) to say all kinds of vile things and to hurl insults that you truly don’t mean. This is normal when emotions are this high.

I definitely said things that I didn’t mean to my husband.  This happened several times in the first couple of weeks.  I actually thought I meant them at the time, but now I can look back and see how far from reality they actually were.  It may be the same with your husband.  You can read more on my blog at

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