My Husband Doesn’t Want To Have Sex With Me After He Has Ended His Affair. Why?

By: Katie Lersch: Sex after an affair is one of the most common topics that is brought up by people who read my blog.   There can be a lot of awkwardness, confusion, and questions about resuming your sex life after one spouse has been unfaithful.  And, there’s a lot at stake here because when sex goes wrong after infidelity, often one or both people read a lot into this and become very discouraged.

I heard from a wife who said: “my husband had a 3 month affair a couple of months ago.  When I found out, I gave him a choice.  End it immediately and do whatever I needed to save our marriage or keep it up and lose me.  He said that he didn’t want to lose our family so he broke it off.  However, although I can tell that he’s trying to work on our marriage, he doesn’t want to have sex with me.  He doesn’t come right out and say this but he’s made no sexual advances toward me since I found out about the affair.  And when I make advances toward him, he rebuffs me or tells me that it’s ‘too soon.’  This hurts me deeply because I worry that he doesn’t find me desirable or that I no longer turn him on.  I also worry that he doesn’t want me because he’s still thinking about her.  Why would a husband not want to have sex with his wife after an affair?”  There are actually many possible reasons for this, which I will discuss below.

He May Not Want To Have Sex Because He’s Worried That It Will Be Awkward:  Sometimes, men back off of having sex because they worry that when you are in the act, you are going to be thinking about or worrying about the other woman.  They worry that you will get upset during this and will be emotionally hurt.  Also, they often intuitively know that if sex doesn’t go well, this might make one or both of you worry that the spark is gone or that the affair has damaged your marriage and your chemistry so much, that it might not ever recover.

He Might Worry That You Will Be Turned Off Or Upset During The Act:  Some men worry that once sex actually takes place, you will become upset or overwhelmed.  It’s one thing to kiss and cuddle, it’s quite another when you are actually having intercourse after infidelity.  Sometimes, it is quite emotional and your husband might be trying to avoid this until you have healed or recovered more.

His Guilt May Be Telling Him That He Doesn’t Deserve It: Another possibility is that your husband feels very guilty and feels as if he doesn’t deserve your willingness to have sex with him.  He may feel as if he needs to earn back your trust before he even thinks about deserving to be intimate with you again.

His Emotions May Be All Over The Place:  There’s an assumption that men are willing to have sex anywhere and anytime no matter what the circumstances.  There is also a perception that while a woman needs an emotional connection or to feel emotionally healthy before she can have sex, a man doesn’t need any emotional connection whatsoever.  This isn’t the case for all men.  Some have issues being intimate when they are struggling emotionally.  And, believe it or not, men can be emotionally torn after an affair.  They can have some confusion and a large sense of regret. And this can bring about emotions that just make sex at that time feel wrong.

He May Be Posturing:  I’ll mention one final possibility, although this one is less common.  Sometimes, his holding off on having sex is part of a strategy.  Sometimes, he knows that you have the power in the marriage right now because of his affair.  And sometimes, he will try to regain some of this power by holding off sexually.  He figures if he can make you pursue him, he won’t have as much making up to do. And you have to decide if you’re going to want to allow him to do this.

How To Respond When He Doesn’t Want To Have Sex After Infidelity:  I know that this is probably not what you want to hear.  But honestly, I feel that it is best not to push if you are encountering resistance. There is plenty of time to resume your sex life and you are so much better off waiting until things are right between you.  I believe that it’s important for the sex to be good after the affair.  And it probably won’t be very good if one or both of you aren’t sure or feel uncomfortable.

So the next time that he resists, you may want to say something like: “I can see that you’re not completely comfortable.  I think that it’s better for us to wait and make sure that we are both ready rather than to push it.  I am confident that we will both know when the time is right.  And I’m also confident it will be worth the wait.”  Then, just get on with your healing.  Many men will see you backing up and then they will start pursuing you, at which point you’ll need to make another decision about how best to proceed.

I know that this is difficult.  But I strongly advocate waiting until you know, without any doubt whatsoever, that the time is right.  You don’t want to have sexual issues in addition to the infidelity issues.  A good sex life can help with the healing.  And an awkward one can delay your progress.  I have to admit that I held off for a while after my husband’s affair.  It just felt necessary and, since we did save our marriage and are happy today, I feel that it was the right call.  If it helps, you can read about my recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Would My Husband Cheat But Then Want To Stay In The Marriage?

by: katie lersch:  I’ve had people tell me that there are two camps of cheaters, as follows:

1. those who want out of their relationship (or are not fully invested in it) and therefore don’t care if they get caught; and

2. those who hope and pray that they never get caught because they are still very much invested in their relationship or marriage and in love with their spouse or partner.

Many people have a very hard time understanding why anyone would cheat or have an affair when they are still invested in their marriage.  It just seems to be a silly and risky thing to do.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “I found out three days ago that my husband has been cheating and having an affair with one of our neighbors.  When he confessed to me, I fully expected him to tell me that he wanted a divorce and was getting ready to pack his bags.  But this isn’t what happened.  Instead, he said that he wanted to be honest with me because he wanted to save our marriage.  This just makes no sense to me.  Why would you cheat on someone to whom you wanted to remain married? My husband knows me pretty well.  He has watched me support many friends whose marriages were destroyed by infidelity and he knows that I have no tolerance for it.  So, when he was cheating, he must have known that once I found out, there was a chance that I would leave him.  And yet, here he is confessing but telling me that he wants to stay in the marriage rather than leave it.  Can you explain the thinking behind this?  Because I just don’t understand why a person who wants to stay in the marriage would risk that same marriage by cheating.”

In the following article, I’m going to try to explain what might motivate a person to cheat even when they fully intend to remain married.

Many People Who Cheat Never Intend To Get Caught And Intend For The Unplanned Cheating To Be A Very Short Lived Affair: Before I get into the reasons for cheating and then wanting to stay married, I have to tell you that you may not fully buy what I’m about to tell you.  I completely understand that because, as a woman who has been cheated on,  I don’t always buy what men tell me either.  It is very hard for to understand a thought process that would never be mine.

With that said, many people who cheat will tell you that they didn’t go into it with any intention of being unfaithful.  You will often first hear about a friendship developing and then you’ll hear phrases like “it just happened.”  Whether this is true or not, most people overwhelmingly make this claim.  And then they will say that once the unintentional cheating happened, they told themselves that it was a one time or short term thing.  They planned to stop it before any one was hurt.  Of course, sometimes it ends up lasting for longer than they originally anticipated.

Still, many people end up realizing that they have made a very huge mistake about which they feel an awful lot of guilt.  They often realize that they have taken a huge risk with the relationship that is most important to them.  This is why many of them confess or at least own up to what they’ve done once they have been caught. They suddenly realize that they don’t want to surrender their marriage and they are hoping that either their confession or their remorse is going to at least give them a chance to maintain or save their marriage.

Suspicions You Might Have About Their Claim That They Want To Stay In The Marriage: Many faithful spouses meet the cheating spouse’s claims with a good deal of suspicion.  People often tell me they fear that their spouse is just claiming that he wants to save the marriage because he knows that a divorce would end up costing him a lot of money or would risk him loosing some access to his children.

I also hear from a lot of doubtful but faithful spouses who suspect that their spouse just doesn’t have the courage or integrity to tell the truth about his feelings.  Or, they worry that he wants to keep the cheating or the affair hidden from his extended friends or family and hopes that by staying in the marriage, his secret won’t get out.  These are absolutely valid concerns.  Dealing with the cheating is very painful.  But dealing with the cheating while trying to save your marriage only to find out later it was all for nothing is nearly unbearable.

However, the problem often is that there is no way to know what is actually true until you see it through.  You can’t read your spouses thoughts.  You can’t possibly know exactly what they are feeling.  So the only way to truly know their real intentions is to wait it out and see if their actions confirm their words.  Because if he’s not being truthful about his commitment to the marriage, then that will become apparent soon enough.   It’s very unlikely that he can keep up the facade for long if his heart isn’t truly in it.

And, his is not the only opinion that matters.  You also will need to decide if you want to stay in the marriage.  The decisions about your marriage are not his alone to make.  You have a say.  And you have your own set of wishes and intentions.  Sometimes, his wanting to stay in the marriage is not going to be enough.  You have to want it too.  And you both have to be willing to do the work to repair the marriage and to restore the trust.   Both of these things truly are possible.  But in order for that to happen both people need to be absolutely sincere about their feelings and intentions.

If you had told me that I would ultimately save my marriage after my husband’s affair, I might have laughed at that notion at the time.  But that is exactly what ended up happening.  I had my doubts about my husband’s sincerity when he claimed he wanted to stay in the marriage, but his actions proved my doubts were unfounded.  And today, I’m glad I gave him the opportunity to prove to me that his claims were true.  If it helps, you can read more about my recovery process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

 

What Percentage Of People Stay Married After One Of Them Has An Affair?

by: katie lersch: I often hear from people who are trying to determine how badly the odds are stacked against them and their marriage after their spouse has had an affair.   And, this is a concern that both husbands and wives share.  Anyone can be on the wrong end of their spouse’s affair and yet be still trying to save their marriage in the aftermath of it.  And many want to know just what they are up against and if they are fighting a losing battle.

I recently heard from a wife who said: “I really do want to stay married even though I just recently found out about my husband’s affair.  But every day, I feel anger and rage that feels so foreign to me.  Every day, the awkwardness and the coldness in our marriage becomes more and more evident.  I have friends who are still married five years after the husband’s infidelity and they seem reasonably content.  But I wonder if they beat the odds because this affair has brought up so many resentments and doubts in me.  I don’t know if I will be able to overcome these things.  What’s the percentage of couples who stay married after one of them cheats and has an affair?  And how can I make sure that I beat the odds?”  I’ll address these things in the following article.

The Percentage Of  Couples Remaining Married After An Affair Might Be Higher Than You Think: The woman in the above scenario confessed that she assumed that the majority of couples who face infidelity end up divorced. Statistics show that this just isn’t the case.  Although the numbers vary, most studies and surveys indicate that the percentage of people who stay married after an affair is around 75 – 80 percent (with around 20 – 25 percent of couples eventually divorcing because they just couldn’t over come the affair.) I suspect that there are many factors that go into which couples make it and which don’t such as the length of the affair, the determination and commitment of the people involved, and the tools or help that the married couple had access to.

Although you might find these numbers surprising or even encouraging, I would argue that these statistics don’t tell you everything.  There are many reasons that people stay together after an affair.  Sometimes, it is because they still love and are committed to their spouse. But, other times, it’s out a sense of obligation, due to finances, or because the marriage has just become a comfortable habit that feels familiar.  Honestly, I think there’s another question here that is equally important – which leads me to my next point.

A More Important Statistic Might Be How Many People Remain Married After An Affair And Are Truly Happy.  How Many Are Able To Restore The Happiness And Fulfillment In Their Marriage?: The wife in this scenario was most concerned about remaining married.  But frankly, this is only half the battle.  We all know couples who stuck it out after an affair but who were never truly happy again because they just weren’t able to recover.  Many of us know the couple who insist on staying together but who also remain miserable and bitter.  To me, staying married but remaining unhappy isn’t really a victory at all.  It’s my opinion that it only makes sense to fight for your marriage after an affair if you can ensure that they same marriage is rebuilt so that it’s a marriage that’s actually worth fighting for.

I know for certain this is possible because of my own experience.  But many people worry more about staying married at all costs while not worrying nearly as much if they are staying in and rebuilding a happy marriage.  I think that many people do not realize just how bad things can be when you are stuck in a marriage where it’s clear that neither spouse is particularly happy to be there.  I have a friend who will openly admit that her marriage is this way and the tension and negative feelings between she and her husband are extremely obvious and uncomfortable to anyone who spends time with them.   It’s as if she can’t stop punishing him and he seems to feels so guilty that he thinks that this is his lot in life.  Neither of them seem to believe that things could ever possibly be better.  And neither of them are willing to be the one to initiate or ask for a change.  So it’s quite possible that they will continue to go through life married but unhappy.

Ensuring That You Rebuild A Marriage That Is Worth Staying In After The Affair: So now that we’ve established that it’s not all that rare to stay married, let’s talk about how to make sure you’re not staying in an unhappy marriage.  Many people assume that staying means that you’re accepting a damaged marriage that is destined to just limp along.  But it truly is possible to rebuild a different and sometimes stronger and better marriage.  Yes, this requires you to do some in depth work on both yourself and your marriage.  But what you put into it will often be worth it in the long run. It’s better than remaining unhappy.   Your spouse’s affair should not be something that you have to deal with for the rest of your married life.  You can work through it.

Staying married after an affair should be something that you want to do not because you feel obligated or stuck but because of your love for your spouse and the fact that you are able to return your marriage to something that is a source and happiness and fulfillment for both of you. If you’re having trouble rebuilding after the affair, I highly recommend the free “Break Free From the Affair” ecourse on the side of this blog.  I know that trying to stay married after an affair can very challenging and painful, but it can truly be worth it. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

My Husband Cheated Twice With The Same Woman. Does This Mean He Loves Her?

By Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives whose husbands have cheated more than once. This is bad enough. But sometimes, he is cheating with the same woman multiple times. I recently heard from a wife who said in part: “I was more than devastated the first time I found out about my husband’s affair.  I knew the woman that he cheated with so this made it particularly hard.  But we hung in there and tried to do everything possible to save the marriage.   He insisted that the other woman meant nothing to him and I thought we had recovered.  Fast forward eight months later.  I found out that he picked right back up with the same woman and started seeing her again.  I told my husband he obviously must love this woman because he can’t seem to let her go.  He insists that he doesn’t and says he feelings for her are ‘complicated’ but are not love.  He says love is what he feels for me.  I am beside myself.  How can he cheat with this woman twice (and probably still hasn’t let her go) and then claim not to love her?  Because as silly as this sounds, I could handle the cheating better if I believed he didn’t love her.  But how can I possible believe this?”  I’ll explore this more in the following article.

Many wives share the opinion of this one.  Countless wives have admitted to me that their husband being in love with the other woman is their greatest fear.  Yes, the physical infidelity hurts, but the emotional infidelity is almost unbearable.  Is it possible for a husband to cheat multiple times with the same woman and not love her?  I believe it sometimes is and I’ll tell you why I feel that way.

Why It’s Sometimes Possible For A Man To Cheat With The Same Woman Multiple Times And Not Love Her: Before I begin sharing my opinion, I have to tell you that there’s no way for me to know how the husband in this scenario truly feels.  I don’t know this couple or the other woman involved.  He may well have emotional feelings and he might not.

With that said, I do sometimes communicate with men in this situation on my surviving infidelity blog.  I have also done a lot of research on this topic.  It’s my belief that some men cheat because of the way that the other woman makes him feel rather than because of how he feels about her. He’s often reacting to whatever pay off that he is getting.  And this payoff can be her making him feel attractive, accomplished, powerful, or confident, etc.  In other words, if she can address for him the insecurities that he is grappling with and provide some relief, then often his “feelings” for her stem from the way that she makes him feel better about himself.  In fact, if you asked the same man what he found so attractive, irresistible, or appealing about the other woman, he usually will not list or name reasoning that has anything to do with her.  He often won’t tell you that she’s a nice or good person whom he admires.

The wife often assumes he will talk about her looks or other talents, but this isn’t always the case.  What you will usually hear instead is something of the effect that she listens to him.  She understands him.  She doesn’t pressure or question him.  In other words, he feels some relief of stress when he is with her. So he isn’t necessarily going back again and again because of any love for her as a person or partner.  He might be going back again and again out of love for himself.

Understanding The Most Important Issue At Hand: I completely understand that the fear that your husband might be in love with other woman is likely what is driving you right now.  But, in truth, what is most important is that you have not yet recovered to the point where he is not repeating the same behaviors.  Because if he was able to successfully address what lead him to her in the first place, he would not be nearly as likely to go back once again.

And sometimes, this is his own personal battle.  You can support him in it but you can not necessarily fix it for him.  You can strengthen your marriage and uncover any individual problems, but he also must be willing to act on any vulnerabilities that you have found. So where does that leave the wife in this situation?  Well, although I understood why she kept demanding answers about his love for this other woman, I didn’t think continuing to ask the question was really doing her any good.  Her husband was likely to keep right on denying any love and, quite frankly, in his own mind, he might believe that he was telling the truth.

The more important questions should be is he willing to completely distance himself from this woman, work on all issues that lead up to the infidelity, and commit himself to his wife and his marriage?  Because if he were able and willing to do this and the marriage actually not only survived but strengthened, then at the end of the day, this other woman would truly only be a footnote in this couple’s history.  But by continuing to bring her up and to demand answers about her, the wife was actually giving her more power and allowing her back in.

The better thing to do is to attempt to completely remove her from the equation and to make the marriage, and the recovery, about the husband and the wife and no one else.   I know it’s easy to become obsessed with the other woman, but do not fall into this trap.  The best thing that you can do is to close the door on her and move on.  I had to do this same thing in order to save my marriage and maintain my own sanity and self esteem.  If it helps, you can read more about how I was able to do this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

 

It’s Bad Enough That He Lied During The Affair, But He Continues To Lie After It About Little Things

Many wives who are dealing with infidelity understandably want the complete truth about every single, tiny detail of their husband’s life and thoughts. It might seem like overkill to some, but when you’ve been betrayed and fooled by a spiderweb of lies, then it can get to a point where you’ll only tolerate 100% of the truth at all times. This can include the mundane details of every day life – and those little things that most would consider not important. Under this lens, many wives find that their husbands are still floating untruths, no matter how small. Understandably, this can get a wife’s suspicions up even when it’s possible that there is nothing amiss.

She might say, “I used to kind of shrug and sometimes laugh when my husband would downplay certain things or tell little white lies. For the most part, this was harmless. For example, he might lie on how much money he spent or when he last called his sister or mother. He might downplay how much time he spent at a bar or silly things like that. These are harmless things. But, since his affair, even small things like this are intolerable to me and it’s becoming a much bigger problem. I am now extremely sensitive to lies because his lying is what allowed him to successfully carry out his affair. It’s also why I did not suspect him until the affair had become a real problem.  We fought an awful lot about his lying about or omitting details about the affair. I fought hard for the truth. I stressed that I could not move on until I felt that he had told me everything. So, little bits of additional information seeped out. I thought that once this was behind us, he would have learned that he needed to tell the truth. And yet, I still catch him in little white lies. He’ll tell me that he ate lunch at a certain place and come to find out, he ate somewhere else. Or he will mix up the order that he did things. When I confront him, he gets defensive and says that he misspoke and that it’s impossible to accurately account for every single second of his day. He told me that I should try it if I think that it’s so easy. Honestly, I know where I’ve eaten. Accurately. Every time. I admit that my husband can be scatterbrained at times. But I would think if he knows that honesty is important to me, he would make more of an effort. Am I wrong about this? To me, especially now, accuracy is vital. I have no patience for even small lies. Am I overreacting?”

I don’t think that you are. What you are going through is normal. I reacted in the same way. But I did find something interesting, at least in my own case. Sometimes, a mistake is just a mistake. For example, in the early stages of our recovery, I thought it was such a huge deal every time my husband misspoke. I thought that it was potentially catastrophic every time that he was late. He insisted that he was being truthful and sincere. And now, years later, I can look back and I can see that he was indeed telling me the truth. Because in the years since that time, he has done exactly what he claimed. But at the time, when things were so fresh that I assumed that every small suspicion meant for sure that he might be cheating again. And these suspicions meant that I absolutely could not be objective.  So in my case, I saw problems where none existed. That said, a friend of mine assumed the best of her husband and he cheated again. So you just never know. My strategy became that the benefit of the doubt would be given until it didn’t make sense to do that anymore. If too many things are suspicious, well then, it’s prudent to pay attention. But if someone just misspeaks every once in a while and otherwise their behavior is sound, then that can be normal.

Honestly, one of the best things to try in this situation is to have a counselor ask your husband about inconsistencies. That way, you don’t have to be the bad guy and you don’t have to feed into your paranoia and suspicions. If your husband rejects counseling, try self help that lists concrete questions to ask. Have your husband write out the answers so that this way, he is accountable for them. If what he claims turns out to be not true, you have a written record of it. But if he’s telling the truth, you don’t need to revisit it.

There is nothing wrong with insisting on complete transparency and truth after an affair. Both are necessary. If he’s lying consistently and about important things, that can be concerning. But if he’s just misspeaking about innocent things when you’re trying to “catch him” at every turn, then that can be more innocent. It’s usually the combination of his untruths and his behavior that are the most concerning. Some men aren’t great with details, but they show their loyalty consistently and they do everything that you ask of them. This distinction can be important.

Sometimes, it is best to pick your battles and to watch and wait.   If his answers seem plausible, then just watch for changes in behavior.  If the inconsistencies continue and his behavior turns odd, then you may want to look closer.  But if not, then you haven’t made things worse.  The “benefit of the doubt” strategy worked for me, but if my husband was repeatedly acting in a suspicious manner and his behavior was concerning, then this would have changed things.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Why Would My Cheating Husband Want To Stay With Me?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who doubt the sincerity of what their husband is saying after he cheated or had an affair. This can especially be true when the husband is insisting that he wants to stay in or save the marriage when his previous actions have completely contradicted his claims. The wife can wonder if he is really sincere or has an ulterior motive.

I recently heard from a wife who said: “my husband accidentally left his email open a couple of weeks ago and I read some emails that made it obvious that he had been cheating on me. When I confronted him, he immediately admitted it and then said that he was going to break it off on his own. But, a couple of weeks later, I logged on again and there were more emails showing that he had lied and was continuing on with his cheating. Of course, I confronted him again and he was overcome with emotion and begged me to go to counseling with him because he said he could not stand to lose me. At this point I do not know how to respond. What is the point? Why would my cheating husband even want to stay with me and stay married? I mean, if he’s so unhappy that he is going behind my back and cheating, then what kind of marriage do we have anyway? He obviously doesn’t love me or he would not have cheated. He clearly doesn’t value our marriage or have the personality to be truthful and faithful, so why even bother with all of this pretense. Part of me wants to try the counseling but the other part of me wonders why a man would even want to stay with a wife that he needs to cheat on anyway.”

I can certainly understand this wife’s reservations. She had caught him cheating twice now so his actions and his words were definitely contradictory. But this wife was operating under the assumptions that many wives embrace. They think that a husband who loves his wife and values his marriage does not cheat. And along these same lines, they think that a man who cheats no longer wants his wife or his marriage. I can tell you from all of the emails that I get on my blog from married men who regret cheating that this is not always the case. I will explain this more below.

Many Husbands Who Cheat Can Still Love Their Wives And Want To Stay Married: I understand why many people think that cheating husbands have already drawn a line in the sand and have chosen to leave their marriage. The men that I hear from contradict this assumption on almost every level though.  Many of them still love their wives very much. In fact, many will put all of the blame on themselves and will tell you that the problem lies with them and not with their marriage or with their wife.  And because of this, they reason, there is no need to abandon the marriage because of their poor judgment.

Countless marriage survive cheating and affairs. And frankly if those same couples were not completely committed to their marriage, they probably would not make it. The process of healing after an affair is often not at all pleasant. In fact it can be downright painful. People who don’t truly love their spouses are not as likely to stick it out. The fact that your husband is willing to stick it out may well say something about him and about his feelings for you.

Some Reasons That Cheating Husbands Want To Stay With Their Wives And Remain In Their Marriages: The biggest reason is that they realize that they have made a mistake and they are hoping that they can find a way to ensure that the mistake is not a permanent one. Once they are faced with the risk of loosing their wife and their family, they realize how awful this would be. They become more protective of and appreciative toward their marriage and their wife. I completely understand the wife having doubts. You would worry about her if she didn’t.

And, I always advocate that wives watch their husbands very carefully while he is trying to prove his love for and his commitment to them and the marriage after he cheated. But to just assume that the cheating means he doesn’t love or want his wife can be the wrong call too.

Many Wives Think Their Cheating Husband Wants To Stay With Them For These Reasons: Many wives who doubt that their husband really wants to stay married will tell you that he’s probably staying out of loyalty or because he doesn’t want to lose money or financial possessions thorough a divorce. And many wives will tell you that he is afraid of losing his children or of what society will think of him. These are all valid concerns. But I have to tell you that I rarely hear men admit to these reasons. That might be because my articles are focused on rehabilitation and saving your marriage, but I rarely have a cheating husband tell me “I don’t really want to stay married and I’m only staying out of a sense of obligation.”

The bottom line to me is that your husband may well give you every reason under the sun as to why he wants to save your marriage. You may be very tempted to discount each and every one of them as lies. But before you do, consider watching his actions for a while before you make a decision. He can say whatever he wants and make all types of claims. But it is his actions that will tell you the truth. In this case, the wife should look for follow through and transparency. The husband should offer open access to his email and he should follow through on counseling and show with his behaviors that his wife is his top priority. If he did these things for long enough, then perhaps the wife would be justified in believing that he was sincere in wanting to stay with her and in the marriage after his cheating.

It took me a long time to believe that my husband really wanted to stay with me after his cheating.  But not only did our marriage survive, it eventually 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

How Do Most Men Feel When They Run Into The Other Woman They Had An Affair With?

Many wives hope that their husband will never see the other woman in the affair again.  Some go so far as to move to ensure that this happens.  Unfortunately, making a physical move isn’t always feasible.  And inevitably, if you stay in the same town, the husband will be out somewhere and will run into the other woman.  Sometimes, the wife will find out about this from her husband, since he’s trying to be honest.  Other times, she will find out from the other woman or from someone else.  Either way, this can be upsetting to her and she can wonder what sorts of feelings this brought up in her husband.

She might say, “the affair has been over for two years.  But it honestly almost ended our marriage.  I truly believe that the only reason that my husband stayed with me was because of our kids.  I’m grateful for that because I know that he believed that he had real feelings for the other woman.  Honestly, I think there was a time when he was somewhat obsessed with her.  But I forced him to break it off.  At first, he was very resentful of this.  Eventually though, we began to make some progress and once our marriage was back on track, he admitted that he could see how stupid he’d been.  I believe that our marriage is pretty good today, but I was thrown off guard when my husband came home and said there was something that he wanted to tell me.  He said that he felt the need to be honest and to disclose that he’d run into the other woman when he was out for lunch with a male coworker.  He said that he didn’t seek her out and that he hadn’t seen or talked to her since he ended the affair.  He said that she came up to him.  He claims that they exchanged pleasantries and that they parted with no plans to speak again.  I asked him how he felt at seeing her.  I asked if he felt longing or loss.  These questions seemed to annoy my husband and he said that he felt embarrassed because he had to lie to his coworker about who she was.  He told the coworker she was a friend of mine because he didn’t want to admit that he’d cheated. I really want to believe this, but my husband got flustered when telling this story, so I don’t know what to believe.  At the same time, I don’t want to overreact and let this come between us because we’ve made a lot of progress.  How do most men react when they run into the other woman after the affair is over?”

It truly does vary, but I can honestly say that I’ve never heard a man say, “boy, I saw the other woman and I realized that she was the one who got away and I regret going back to my spouse.”  To be fair, I write articles about healing after an affair, so I’m probably going to hear from a subset of people who are moving on from the affair.  But more often than not, I hear about the same type of reaction that your husband had.  The husbands typically feel shame, guilt, and embarrassment.  Many will admit that actually seeing the other woman has them confused because she is not as stunning or as charismatic as they remembered.  Many just feel stupid because running into her is a harsh reminder of their mistake.  And they’d rather avoid that, of course, so most men can’t escape the situation fast enough.  They either avoid her or they excuse themselves at the first opportunity.

After all, what is there to be gained from this situation?  If they’ve gone back to their spouse and are in the process of saving their marriage, the only reason to stay and chat would be if they were interested in picking back up the relationship.  Most men in this situation aren’t.  They’re invested in moving on and nothing more.  As such, a reminder of a time in their life that they are not proud of and would rather forget isn’t really welcome.  They want to avoid it so they’ll exchange a few words and then they’ll leave.

The fact that your husband told you about this says a lot to me.  He didn’t have to tell you, yet he wanted to be honest and forthcoming.  I would only worry about this if his behavior changed or seemed odd moving forward.  If you continue to feel that your marriage remains solid and he is still committed to you, then I wouldn’t damage my marriage by dwelling on this, especially since he chose to tell you himself.  I’m certainly just an outsider looking in, but to me, there appears to be a good chance that he likely was embarrassed about the encounter and felt more regret than anything else.

I know that it’s hard not to worry.  But I would try to focus on what you do know – that he has been present and has been actively working with you on your marriage.  You have made progress.  This meeting was seemingly a random event that your husband didn’t seek out.  He has not changed his stance toward you or the marriage, so why should you halt your progress over something that he says had no impact?  I’d keep moving forward and would certainly keep an eye on his behavior, but I would not let this derail me. You can read about my own path to healing after the affair (in spite of a few challenges) on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

My Husband Says The Other Woman Is Trying To Blackmail Him

Wives who are dealing with infidelity want a couple of things, just for starters.  They want a remorseful spouse.  They want to know that the other person is out of the picture and that their spouse has ended the affair firmly and permanently.  Unfortunately, even when some husbands try to do this, the other person does not always play along.  Sometimes, the husband sincerely and legitimately will try to end things and the other person will try to blackmail him into staying in the affair.

A wife might be dealing with a situation like this one. ” I know that it’s a cliche, but my husband cheated with someone from work.  He told me about it, but only because the other woman was threatening to tell me herself.  When she began threatening him, my husband changed his mind about the relationship very quickly.  He became angry, realized that the relationship was more trouble than it was worth, and broke it off.  The other woman wouldn’t accept it, though.  She’s telling him that if he doesn’t continue on with the relationship, she’s going to tell the higher-ups in the office about the relationship.  My husband is not her boss or supervisor.  But coworkers are not supposed to date.  Technically my husband has more seniority with the company than she does, so they might see this as my husband’s fault.  She’s also telling my husband that she’s going to send me photos and other stuff that is going to embarrass my husband.  She also stated that he owes her money, because she put down a deposit for a vacation that they were going to take together and now she’s lost her money. So my husband is now panicked.  I don’t think that he wants her back because, let’s be honest, going back just lets her have her way and creates a larger monster. But he doesn’t want his work to find out.  And I certainly don’t want her contacting me with pictures.  But I don’t know how to handle this.”

I’m not an attorney or in law enforcement, so I’m not sure about legalities, but you could certainly reach out to see if there is anything that local authorities could do about the blackmail.  Beyond this, I’m not sure that it would be at all beneficial to bow to any of her demands.  If your husband did that, her threats would likely become larger and larger every single time he wanted to break it off.  It would be a never ending cycle.  If he’s truly done with the relationship and wants to move on, then he should be firm and tell her that regardless of what she says or threatens, the relationship is over.  Your husband will need to decide whether he should go ahead and tell his company before she can do further damage.  And he’s already told you, which really helps to neutralize the threats where she is concerned.  I would block her from my social media and phone.  If she tries to send you snail mail, return it to sender unopened.  If she comes on your property to talk to you, call the police.  Sometimes, it is necessary to change your phone numbers so that she no longer has access to you or your husband.

There are restraining orders that you can seek in these situations, so your husband will need to determine if this is going to be necessary.  Blackmailing people and making threats are illegal, so it’s possible that law enforcement might have some insights on how to make this stop.  Many people will make these types of threats initially and then back off when it’s clear that this method won’t work.  But I think that you and your husband should be vigilant about this and protect yourselves.  You never know what another person is going to do and it’s better to be safe than sorry.  But threats are certainly not a valid reason to stay in a toxic, destructive relationship.  When you do that, you only make it harder and harder to exit the relationship.  And what is the point in continuing on with the damage while delaying the healing? Your husband might have to deal with whatever comes from his company and from you, but at least this way, she can no longer make threats. When your husband shows her that he’s not going to engage, she may realize that she has no currency.  If you and the employer already know about the affair, then her threats are empty.  Sure, she can try to send pictures or to offer up proof, but when she does, don’t engage.  Send them right back.  Most people will get the message and move on.  If she doesn’t, then find out what your legal rights are.  These are better alternatives than allowing her to bully your husband into remaining in a relationship that should be over.

I know that this is very difficult.  But you did nothing wrong here and your husband is trying to remove himself from this situation.  If you need outside help from authorities, do not hesitate to get it.  But in my experience, the sooner you get her out of your life, the better.  If it helps, you can read about how I moved on from the affair on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Is It Common For The Mistress To Reach Out With Contact After The Affair

I sometimes hear from wives who are afraid that, now that the affair is over, the other woman is going to try to contact the wife or the husband. Of course, the wife usually hopes that the other woman will just gracefully go away. But unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many wives want nothing whatsoever to do with any unwanted communication from her.

A wife might say, “How common is it for the mistress or other woman to want to communicate after the affair? Yesterday, an unrecognized number called our home phone. The person who called had a blocked caller ID. I did not pick it up, but now I’m paranoid that it was the other woman trying to call us. My husband said that he was very clear that there was to be no contact when he broke it off. But will she listen? I have nothing to say to her, even though some of my friends say that I should hear her out. And I certainly don’t want her speaking to my husband. How likely was this call to be from her? Am I just being paranoid?”

I don’t think that you are being paranoid. You may have tried to google statistics on this, only to see that there really aren’t too many out there. But in my own experience and observation, it really does depend on the situation and on how the affair ended. It also tends to depend upon how invested the other woman was in the relationship. In general, the more warning of the affair’s end that comes beforehand, the more time both people have to get used to the idea and the less likely she is to try to call or contact either spouse. Additionally, the more invested she was in the relationship, the more likely she is to have a hard time letting go and walking away.

Sometimes, though, the other woman herself is married and she herself has a family. In these cases, she usually has no interest in the wife or the other family. The reason is because she never intended to leave her own family. She didn’t want anything permanent with the husband and now that the affair is found out, the last thing that she wants to do is to open the door to her own family being further jeopardized. So she’s more than happy to move on as quickly as possible. And this is the best case scenario, but not every wife is so lucky.

If you are not sure which category your situation might fall into, I honestly would do nothing for right now.  I would not invite any drama. If the phone calls persist, then I would try to look up the number online, if possible. I honestly never pick up unidentified or strange calls because anyone who truly knows me or has business with me has my cell phone number or email. If it’s truly important enough that they need to get in touch with me, they would know how to do it.  And they would also leave a message.  I’d suspect that the same is true of you, so I would not worry about the call too much.

As far as your friends saying that you might want to talk to her, I disagree with that, but this is only one person’s opinion. Remember above when I said that the mistresses or “other women” who are most likely to try to call are those who don’t want to let the affair go? Well, those are also the women who are going to try to manipulate you when they talk to you. They aren’t going to be honest with you because they have their own agenda. Many wives agree to talk to them in order to gain information or insights, but you’d better believe that any information that they give you is going to be slanted to their benefit. They have no reason to want to be honest with you. Because their motivation for calling you in the first place is probably to push forward their own wishes.

As long as your husband was clear that it’s truly over and he wants no contact, I’d hope that if she does try to call him, he would immediately shut her down. If the call was indeed her, the fact that she called the home phone (rather than the husband’s cell phone) may indicate that she was looking to talk to you, the wife. If it were me, I would not play into her hand. If more calls come, I’d continue to ignore them. If they become excessive, then you can always block them. I rarely see anything positive come out of these communications. They just increase the deception, manipulation, anger and pain. The wife generally gets nothing but more aggravation out of these calls. There is nothing to be gained by anyone but the woman attempting to call. I know that there are always exceptions, but why not focus on yourself and what you need right now? You have other things to worry about, which is why I’d just ignore the calls and not overthink this issue too much. She can’t talk to you unless you pick up, which is why I wouldn’t.

I know that this is a difficult time, but it does get easier.  I do remember thinking that every stray phone call had to do with the affair.  I was always wrong and it made me paranoid.  To the extent that you can, try to focus on more important, more immediate things.  Fearing the worst before it happens is just allowing pain that isn’t yours yet.  There’s no gain in that. If it helps, you can read about how I overcome some of these challenges on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

When Does The Remorse Begin After An Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are extremely frustrated because they are not seeing a lot of remorse in the days following the discovery of an affair.  They often expect for their husbands to immediately express remorse, but this doesn’t always happen.  And this lack of immediate remorse can leave them wondering if they are going to see any sorrow at all, and, if so, when.

I heard from a wife who said: “two days ago, my husband admitted to an affair.  He told me this news in a very matter of fact way and in a somewhat cold tone.   He pretty much just made the announcement and waited for my response.  He didn’t offer any explanations or apologies.  This is weird to me because a year ago, our best friends went through infidelity and my husband was completely outraged at the unfaithful husband’s behavior.  He expressed disappointment that the husband would act with such a lack of integrity or sincerity.  But now, here my husband is acting in the same way and he is not showing any remorse at all.  My friend said that if I give him some time, I will probably begin to get some apologies from him.  Is she right?  When should I expect to see his sorrow?  When does the remorse begin?”  I will try to address these concerns in the following article.

Remorse Follows A Varying Timeline:  Unfortunately, it is very difficult to give a definitive answer about remorse.  Because when you see it often depends upon the personality of the person being unfaithful, their reasons for cheating, and where they are in the other relationship.  For example, if the affair is still intense and current, then you may not see a lot of remorse until the relationship begins to cool down.  Because people often need to understand that the affair is a horrible mistake so that they can feel remorse for it.

But if they think that the relationship is a positive in their life that makes them happier, then they will typically attempt to justify it or refuse to be sorry about it.  As unfortunate as this is, the good news is that often, with time as the affair cools down or the true nature of the other person and the relationship becomes apparent, they will often gain a new perspective on the affair.  As a result, they eventually come to regret it.  And when they do, this is when the remorse often begins.

Sometimes, People Don’t Let Their Spouses See Their Remorse Because They Think It Is A Sign Or Weakness Or They Assume That It Weakens Their Position:  Sometimes, you will see spouses who are sort of indignant after an affair.  They seem to have a cold and uncaring attitude as was the case of this husband.   Many times, the faithful spouse will see this attitude and assume that the cheating spouse isn’t sorry or just doesn’t care about the marriage anymore.  This isn’t always the case.  Sometimes, the cheating spouse is posturing to a degree.  They figure that if they get all emotional and fall over themselves showing remorse, then the faithful spouse will pile on the guilt and will expect to see more of the same type of subservient behavior.

Their thought process is that if they make it clear that they are not going to show weakness early on, then the faithful spouse’s expectations and demands will be lower so that recovery will be much easier for them.  Very few people welcome knowing that they are going to have to express sorrow regularly or grovel for their spouse’s forgiveness.  They would rather try to see if they can set the tone early.

What Are You Options When You Are Not Seeing Remorse Quickly Enough:  It’s my experience that most faithful spouses (including myself) want and demand to see remorse sooner rather than later.  When you see it will sometimes depend upon how the affair is progressing or if it is truly over to the point where the unfaithful spouse can truly understand what a mistake that they have made and can therefore begin to feel sorrow.  If you don’t think your spouse is at this point yet, you may have to wait a bit.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it clear that you expect to see it at some point in the very near future.

For example, the wife in this scenario might look for a time to say something like: “I can’t help but notice that I’m not seeing and hearing a lot of remorse from you about the affair.  I realize that the emotions are still fresh and you may be as confused as I am.  But you need to understand that I’m going to need to see some remorse from you before I can begin to move forward toward recovery.  I need to truly believe that you are genuinely and completely sorry before I can even think about trust you again.   When you have progressed enough where you’re more comfortable expressing that remorse, then let me know.”

You may have noticed that I tried to keep the tone matter of fact, mirroring the husband’s tone.  I didn’t berate or try to shame him (since this was likely to make him feel defensive.)  Instead, I told him what I expected and how to reach out once he got to that point.  It’s my experience that you will have more success with this approach than with trying to shame, guilt, or force him into claiming emotions that he is not yet ready to express.

So to answer the question posed, remorse can begin even before the affair is over, but sometimes it takes a good deal longer.  A lot of this depends upon the situation and the people involved.  And sometimes the faithful spouse will need to make it clear that remorse is not only expected, it is necessary.

I didn’t always see the kind of remorse that I wanted throughout our recovery.  Once I made it clear that this was nonnegotiable, things began to chance.  I also learned to use positive reinforcement instead or relying on guilt and shame, and this helped a good deal.  If it helps, you can read about our recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/

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