My Spouse Won’t Completely Commit To Our Marriage After His Affair. He Just Wants To Observe What Happens

By: Katie Lersch: Once you begin to open yourself up to saving your marriage after an affair, you want reassurance that you are not going to leave yourself vulnerable for no good reason.  You want to know that there is a good chance that this risk to your heart is all going to be worth it in the end because your spouse is going to work hard to ensure that you’re not going to be hurt again.  You want some assurance that your marriage will emerge even better so that your risk and hard work was justified.

In order to have these beliefs, it helps when you have a spouse who is firmly on board and who is every bit as committed to your marriage as you are. When this doesn’t appear to happen, it can leave you wondering if the risk is worth it.

A wife might be in this type of situation: “the day after I found out my husband was cheating on me, he came to my work and would not leave until I agreed to give him five minutes of my time. I didn’t even want to talk to him, but I was embarrassed that he was at my job, so I just wanted to get him out of there.  So we went the coffee shop down the street and I gave him precisely five minutes.  He went on and on about how he could not live without me and how much he was praying that I would not leave or divorce him.  I took several weeks to make up my mind, but I finally decided that I wasn’t going to let this marriage go without a fight. So I told him that I would commit to trying to make it work. I thought that was what he wanted because he represented the same to me.  Well, things have not gone so smoothly. Although I want it to work, it is difficult.  There are days when I am very angry.  Yesterday was one of those days.  My husband and I got into an argument and I told him that I wasn’t sure why he was acting this way when he was the one begging me not to leave him or to end the marriage.  I told him that commitment to the marriage means not complaining when things get rough. He told me that he’s now not sure about the marriage.  He would rather take a ‘wait and see’ approach now.  He said if things improve, then maybe our marriage was meant to be.  If not, then maybe we should just go our separate ways.  I am appalled by this and I feel like he mislead me.  He acted like he was committed, but then when I committed also and it wasn’t smooth sailing, he started balking. I feel like there is no way to work things out now with him just sitting back and watching.”

I understand your frustration.  You’re worried that he’s not going to put in any effort. And, without this effort, things may never work.  I am certainly no expert, but it looks like you have a couple of things which must be overcome in order to get back on track.  First, it may help if your attempt at recovery has more of a forward direction.  And I don’t mean that you can never get angry or that you have to pretend that you’re healing when you’re not.  I mean that often, when we try to fix our marriage after an affair, we do the best we can, but we aren’t experts and so we just sort of wander and we have good days and bad days. But we don’t really make any progress because there is truly no plan.  We don’t know how to move ourselves forward, so both people get discouraged.

The second obstacle is that your husband is now balking at giving you a firm commitment to a certain period of time.  I have a suggestion which might help you overcome both obstacles.  And that would be to try to get your husband to commit to a set time of counseling.  Please hear me out.  I know that counseling does not seem great to many people, but if you can get your husband to agree to say, a handful of sessions, that will at least buy you some time where you know that you will have his attention and his cooperation.  And by seeking a professional’s guidance, you have a much greater chance of moving forward and being productive in your recovery.

When people see progress, then they are much more likely to be willing to stay and to commit.  This strategy gives you a much higher likelihood of his repeated and enthusiastic cooperation, which gives you a much higher likelihood of success.

I know that a lot of people are reluctant or unable to get counseling, but if this is the case, there are self help resources out there that can at least help you to see some progress in a logical way so that you aren’t just sort of staying stagnant and not moving forward.  I actually had a good results from some carefully chosen self help. There’s more on my blog at

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