Can I Ever Respect My Husband Again After He Had An Affair?

by katie lersch:  I often hear from wives who are struggling with many issues after their husband’s affair.  One very common issue is that of respect.  Since husbands lie and cheat while they are unfaithful, it can be hard to respect someone who has shown these attributes.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “I’m finding it very hard to respect my husband after he cheated and had an affair.  I now know that he lied to me for a good four months.  There were times when he told me he was working and couldn’t make my children’s events when in fact he was with her.  The other day, I actually heard him scolding my son for stretching the truth and it made me so angry.  Who is he to lecture someone else about honesty when he lied to his family for months?  Every time I look at him, I can’t help thinking that he’s a liar and a cheat.   I want to hold my family together for the sake of my son.  But how can I do that when I don’t trust or respect my husband?  And respect is a very important attribute to me.  I was always so proud that my husband was a man of integrity and honor, but now that image of him is destroyed.  How can I ever respect him again when he’s lied to me and cheated on me?”

This is a difficult but common situation.  After all, the personality traits that come out when people cheat or have affairs (dishonesty, secrecy, and betrayal) aren’t attributes that we associate with respect.  And once we lose respect for our spouse, we can begin to wonder if it’s even possible to get it back.   It’s my belief that in some cases, you can restore the respect after infidelity (if you both have the determination and the patience to do so) but it certainly isn’t always easy.  I will discuss this more in the following article.

What Really Inspires Respect And What is Lost After Infidelity?: Respect is something that is generally earned over a period of time.  I don’t think that it’s possible to respect someone without knowing them very intimately.   Generally, we respect someone when we recognize the qualities and attributes that we ourselves admire.  For example, if we value integrity, discipline, and empathy, then we will respect someone who we believe consistently displays these qualities.

In this example, the wife shared that she had always seen her husband as a man of integrity.  She had watched him be honest at great personal and professional cost because he believed that this was the right thing to do.  So, it was quite shocking and disappointing to her now when she witnessed him not only being dishonest, but being dishonest to her. The thought of him sneaking around while she thought he was somewhere else repulsed her and she wasn’t sure if she would ever see him in the same way again, or even if she wanted to.

How Is It Possible To Restore The Respect After Your Spouse Has An Affair? From my own experience, I believe that it’s possible to restore the respect, but I would never tell you that it’s easy.  The key is to be open to allowing your spouse to earn that respect over a long period of time.  It’s not realistic to think that you can just immediately decide to respect someone who has let you down.  But, it can be realistic to think that you will be open to watching and observing them for a good while to see if they can earn it back.

And here’s another thing to consider that is often missed.  Very often, there are multiple reasons that we respect our spouse. Yes, honesty and integrity are huge issues.  But, often we fail to see the things that are still there because of our own anger and resentment (which is understandable.)  For example, the wife in this situation admitted that she had always respected her husband’s generosity and empathy.  He was very active in their community and gave generously of his time and his money to those in need.  The wife loved that about him.  And, she was eventually able to see that he never lost these attributes.  He still was very giving of himself even after the infidelity and during the fall out that ensued. She also was very attracted to his intellect, discipline, and determination – which were all things that he was showing her while he was trying to save his marriage.

So while she had to admit there were areas where he did not have her respect (like honesty and integrity) there were other attributes that she still admired and respected.  This gave her encouragement that, at some time in the future, he might be able to regain her respect.

Granted, there was a long road ahead.  Over time, he had to show his wife that it was safe for her to trust him because he was honest without fail.  This was just going to take some time.  More than that, she would need to see him continuously showing her that he was a person of high integrity who had no intention of repeating the same mistakes.  This was going to be a gradual process and the husband had to be very careful to never let his wife down or to conduct himself in any way other than completely truthful and honest.

Sometimes, Respecting The Person Is Different Than Respecting The Person’s Actions: As angry as you may be right now, I know that it’s hard to envision that you could ever separate your husband from his actions. But with time, many find that this is possible (as long as their spouse’s actions encourages and are in line with this.)  As hard as it can be to believe, it’s possible to look back on the affair as something that you were both able to overcome (and this can actually inspire respect.)

I know that this may sound odd.  But as I look back on my own process, I can’t help but remember that sometimes my husband hung in there and showed patience and poise that was frankly not in line with the anger and nastiness that I was throwing his way.   I’m not saying that he didn’t deserve this, but during those difficult days, he showed some of the steadiness and calm that I had always really loved about him.  And this was one of the things that made me realize that, although I certainly didn’t respect his recent choices, I did still have at least some respect for the person.

Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, after some struggles, my marriage is stronger than ever after my husband’s affair. 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 in tact. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. If it helps, you can read more of that story on my blog at

Cheating Spouse Confessions: Is It An Encouraging Sign When Your Spouse Blurts Out The Truth

It’s interesting to examine cheating confessions.  Not all of them come when a spouse is close to learning the truth or when the cheating spouse is confronted.  Sure, sometimes, the faithful spouse has strong suspicions or knows about the cheating, so the person having an affair will figure that it’s better to confess.  Other times, though, the cheating spouse is actually pretty safe as far as detection goes.  The faithful spouse has no idea about the cheating, and yet, the cheating spouse confesses anyway.  This is either because of guilt or because he thinks that it is the right thing to do.  Many times he has saving his marriage in his own mind.

Often the faithful spouse isn’t sure what to make of these confessions that seem to come out of nowhere.  One isn’t sure if they are a good sign or not.  One wonders what would motivate a spouse to just up and confess.  Someone might say: “I feel very naive about this, but I did not suspect my husband of cheating.  He did not have to confess to me.  I did not have any idea at all. I thought that things were fine between us.  We were having a perfectly acceptable evening and he said that there was something that he had to tell me. Then he just started choking out that he was having an affair.  Eventually, he started crying and stressing how sorry he was.  He never said if it was over.  He just said that he prays that I will give him a chance.  He said that he could not continue to lie to and deceive me.  He said that he was having trouble sleeping and functioning because this was all eating him up inside.  When I told my best friend about this, she said that my husband is likely putting on an act because perhaps the other woman was going to tell me and my husband was trying to get to me first.  She may be right, but part of me thinks that it took some courage for him to confess and that it is a good sign.  Am I just having wishful thinking about this?”

This is only my opinion, but I too believe that for the most part, a confession can be a good sign.  That said, I believe that it is a more positive sign when a cheating spouse confesses well before they have to.  If you’re about to catch them or their affair partner is blackmailing them, well, that confession was a last resort or a preemptive strike.  And to me, that confession does not carry as much weight as the one that came without any threat.

A husband whose conscience and respect for you bothers him so much that not only does he have to end the affair, but he wants to be honest with you about it, is a husband who, at least in my opinion, will be less likely to cheat again.  Why? Because he has already proven that he’s not going to be at peace when he’s cheating on or betraying you.  This doesn’t negate his cheating, but it does show that he cares enough to feel guilty about it if it doesn’t do right by you, which shows the level of investment that he still has.

Of course, none of this is any guarantee.  And his willingness to confess does not mean that there will not be hard work ahead of you. Just because he confessed does not mean that you don’t get to decide what you want to do moving forward.  You may still feel betrayed and may still want reassurances and goodwill gestures from him.  However, I believe that his confession is a good start.  It does show a good faith effort.  It shows that he is bothered by his behavior and ready to take responsibility for it.  These are all promising things that not every wife gets.  Some wives get a husband who not only won’t confess, but who lies about the affair.  Then they get a husband who tries to deflect responsibility or tries to minimize his behavior once he is caught.

A husband who confesses hasn’t denied what is true or shirked his responsibility.  He has admitted his mistake and shown a preparedness to take responsibility for it.  In my own experience, there is a lot of work and additional steps between the discovery of the affair and getting a healthy marriage back and having trust restored.  But you can’t get there until you’ve taken the first step.  Your husband has shown a willingness to do this, which is a good sign.  There’s more on my blog at

Do Men Really Feel Guilty After Having An Affair? Or Do They Just Pretend?

By: Katie Lersch:  I sometimes hear from women who are having a hard time believing that a man feels guilty for cheating or having an affair. Often, it is the wife who had her doubts. But other times, it is the other woman who eventually can’t help but notice that the husband seems to think he’s entitled to his behavior.

Common comments from wives are things like: “my husband claims that he is sorry and guilty about having an affair, but I have my doubts. He cheated on me with a much younger woman from his job. He made her all sorts of promises and gave her money in order to cover her living expenses. And he lied to both of us. He told her that our marriage was in name only. And he told me that she had left the job to go back to school while that most certainly was not true. When we both caught him in his lies, he supposedly broke off the affair. He promised me that he would go to counseling and that he would prove to me that he could be a good husband. He hasn’t done any of this. He says he’s sorry, but his life hasn’t changed any, really. I asked him if he feels guilty and he says that he does. But his actions don’t really indicate that he is telling me the truth.”

In contrast the other woman might say something like: “the guy that I ended up having an affair with told me that he wasn’t married. He told me that he had just gone through a nasty divorce. Imagine my shock and horror when his wife saw my information on his phone and called me. She had no idea and she seems like a really sweet woman. I broke it off with this man and I told him that he should be completely ashamed of his behavior. He apologized and said he does feel guilty, but part of me wonders if he will just do this to someone else. Do men really feel guilty when they behave this way?”

Well, I have to disclose that I’m not a man who has cheated. But I have spoken with many men who meet this description and some of them leave comments on my blog. Granted, my focus is on saving your marriage after infidelity so it’s probably fair to say that only a certain type of man is going to be willing to dialog with me about this. With that said, I can tell you that many men do feel guilty but they keep this to be almost a closely guarded secret. I’ll tell you why below.

Many Men Don’t Want You To Know How Guilty They Feel Because They’re Afraid You Will Use This Against Them: Men who are caught in an affair will often feel a bit defensive. They know that they are in the wrong and they know that they are deserving of whatever reaction you might have. But at the same time, they are embarassed and ashamed. And they don’t want to continue to have to keep talking about this. They don’t want you to keep picking at the scab. So they will appear to be distant or cold, all in the hopes of keeping you at arm’s length.

Because they are concerned that if they show you any weakness like guilt, you are going to pounce on it and then dig to determine what exactly they have to feel guilty about.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that they get a pass. You need to see their guilt and feel confident that they actually feel it. Because feeling guilt shows you that they know that what they did was wrong, which is one thing that might ensure that this doesn’t happen again. It also typically means that they still care enough about you to feel remorse that they have hurt you.

With all of this said, I will say that repeat cheaters are often less guilty. Because they have cheated more than once, they have found various ways to justify their cheating, which means that they are less likely to feel remorse. But men who have never cheated before are, at least in my opinion and experience, likely to feel some guilt.

How To Get Him To Open Up About His Guilt: It’s very understandable that you want to believe that he feels genuine guilt. But at the same time, it’s also understandable that he might not want to bear his soul on a daily basis. So you might just want to have an open conversation about this by saying something like: “I just need to believe that you truly feel remorse and guilt. And I don’t want this because I want to hurt or shame you. I want to see this because it helps me to know that you still care enough to feel these things and it helps me to feel confident that you know what you did was wrong. Because if both of these things are present, I know that you are less likely to cheat again. I don’t expect for you to fall to your knees and declare your guilt, but I’d just like to see your remorse in the way that you treat me and in the way that you approach our marriage.”

Hopefully, this will clear the way for him to be more transparent about his feelings. But to answer the question posed, yes, many first time cheaters do feel a great deal of guilt about their actions.

My husband didn’t show his guilt at first.  But once it became obvious that I wasn’t interested in using his guilt against him, he became more willing to let it show and this truly helped in our recovery.  If it helps, you can read more on my blog

Infidelity And Income Or Finances. Are The Wealthy Or Poor More Likely To Cheat? What About A Change In Financial Status?

I often hear from people whose spouse was faithful until there was a significant change in financial status or income.  Sometimes, this is a huge promotion or a significant raise where the spouse has much more money than he’s ever had in his life.  Other times, the infidelity comes after a job loss or demotion.  Whatever the reason, wives often wonder if there is any correlation with the affair and the change in finances.

Someone might say: “honestly, I believed that wealthy men were more likely to cheat.  My family has never been wealthy, but things have never been as bad as they are right now.  My husband lost his job last year.  I started working more hours and he took over care of the household.  Instead of being grateful that I kept us afloat, I found out that while he was supposed to be caring for our kids, he was carrying out an affair.  I am shocked at this.  He’s never been unfaithful before.  My mother thinks that perhaps he felt badly about himself because of the job loss.  Is this possible?  Why would any woman want to cheat with an unemployed man who is home all day?”

Another example is the wife who says: “I am furious that my husband cheated on me.  I have been loyal to him for our whole married lives.  I worked to support him while he went to graduate school.  As he was building his business, I scraped and pinched pennies so that we could make the business a success.  But now that he is successful at this business that I helped him to build, he repays me by cheating with a much younger woman.  Maybe I’m crazy, but now I wish that I hadn’t helped him become so successful.  I honestly feel that if he didn’t have money, the other woman wouldn’t have thrown herself at him.  Am I wrong to think this?  Does success have anything to do with men who cheat?”

Statistics Show That It’s More About Equality Than Money: From my research, it appears that equal status among the spouses has more to do with who cheats and who doesn’t than actual dollars and cents.  In other words, just as we have seen above, the highest risk for cheating spouses is when one spouse makes much less money than the other, especially when the man’s earning capacity is less than the woman’s.  This doesn’t always make sense on the surface because you’d think that a husband in that situation would be on his best behavior.  After all, infidelity could potentially cause a divorce and what happens then?  But as we see with people who cheat when they are aging, people often cheat in order to feel better about themselves.  So a man who has lost his job and who feels that he isn’t contributing financially to his family’s success might be particularly vulnerable to an affair, especially if the other woman focuses on making him feel more worthy.

Likewise, men who earn significantly more than their wife are statistically more likely to cheat.  That may be because, as the wife above said, men who are seen as wealthy are more likely to have opportunities to cheat.  However, both of the above scenarios are why some experts will tell you that it’s really inequality rather than money that changes the dynamic in the marriage.  That said, everyone is different.  There are certainly stay-at-home or unemployed moms and dads who go their whole marriage without even considering cheating.  (I was one of them for many years.)   There are also successful and wealthy men and women who are completely faithful to their spouses despite ample opportunities to cheat.  So while money can play a role, so can anything that places stress on your marriage.  Frankly, money can be one of the biggest stressors to any marriage, so it makes sense that it might also contribute to infidelity.

I know that this can be frustrating and can make you hesitate to celebrate your spouse’s success or to be honest when he struggles financially.  But again, statistics don’t tell the whole story.  Plenty of people in this situation don’t cheat.  And even marriages marred by infidelity can recover and can even become stronger.  If you want to save your marriage, it is possible.

My husband’s affair did come after a promotion that required travel.  I used to blame this situation somewhat.  However, human beings have free will.  So my husband’s situation most certainly did not excuse him.  He made a choice and he had to take responsibility for that, which he did.   Once we healed our marriage, we made a conscious decision as a couple that neither of us would take work that requires long periods of time away from our family.  This has worked well for us, but each couple has to decide what works for them. If you’d like to read more about what that process was like for me, check out my blog at

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

My Husband Can’t Even Look at Me After He Cheated And Had An Affair: Tips And Advice That Might Help

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who indicate that their husband is having a lot of trouble facing them after he has been caught cheating or having an affair. Often, he’s either ashamed, embarrassed, nervous, awkward, humiliated or a combination of all of these things. So, it can be quite difficult to deal with him in the aftermath of the affair, much less to improve your issues or to save your marriage.

I recently heard from a wife who said: “my husband did not admit his affair to me. I actually told him of my suspicions very frankly and he denied them with everything he had. In fact, he acted injured, as if he were appalled that I would suspect or accuse him of such a thing. Still, something was telling me that things weren’t right. I still suspected that he was cheated on me. So I hired a private investigator to follow him. And sure enough, the investigator quickly caught him cheating. Once I was told where he was, I waited for him and confronted him as soon as he emerged with the other woman. Needless to say, I made quite a scene. I know that my husband was very embarrassed but he completely deserved it. Since that time, I have told him what a liar I think he is. Still, there’s a small part of me deep down inside that doesn’t want to let go of my marriage. I expected my husband to immediately apologize and beg for my forgiveness but he has not done that. Instead, he can’t even look at me in the eyes now. He avoids me. He cuts me off when I try to talk. He basically makes it clear he’s not going to talk about the affair. How can we even begin to heal when he acts like this? And why is he acting this way in the first place?” I will try to answer these questions in the following article.

Sometimes, Your Husband Can’t Look At You After The Affair Because He Is Embarrassed, Ashamed, Or Is Unsure Of What To Do Or Say: I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to the husband in this scenario. But I’ve corresponded with many men in this situation on my blog. Many will tell you that they are embarrassed and ashamed. They will also tell you that they do not know what is the right thing to do or say and they are scared of their wife’s reaction. In this particular scenario, the husband was probably even more humiliated by his own behavior because he so adamantly denied the affair in the first place.

This alone can make it quite difficult to look someone in the eye. It’s important for the wives in this situation to remember that they have not done anything wrong. He is the one who is wrong and frankly, his reluctance to face you and make full eye contact is a good indication that he is fully aware of this.

His Inability To Look You In The Eye Can Be An Indication Of Guilt Or Remorse, Which Can Be A Positive Sign: Frankly, the fact that your husband can’t look at your face or make full eye contact can sometimes be a good sign. Men who are indignant and deny any wrong doing or who blame their wives for their actions are more likely to repeat those actions because they almost feel justified in their cheating.

Conversely, a man who is so ashamed or uncomfortable that he can’t look you in the eye may well be having the difficulties that he is because he knows how gravely he has messed things up. He is having the strong reaction that he is because he is very well aware of how huge of a mistake he has made. And, this makes him more likely to not want to repeat the same actions because he does not want to feel this way ever again.

How To Handle It When Your Husband Won’t Look You In The Eye After His Affair: Although there can be valid reasons why your husband is having a hard time facing you, it can be very frustrating and it can delay your healing if in fact you have some interest in saving your marriage. So you might want to address this the next time that it happens. A suggested script might be something like “could you please look at me when we’re talking? We’re not going to make any progress if you won’t even meet my gaze. I know that is uncomfortable for both of us, but in order for us to move forward we are going to need to be able to communicate and this includes making eye contact with each other. I know this is awkward, but if you care about me and our marriage, I need for you to do better. And you can start by looking at me when I am talking to you.”

Hopefully, as be begins to see that making eye contact can actually be the start to improving things and that he needs to take responsibility for what he had done and be man enough to handle the fall out of his own actions, you will see some improvements. And some eye contact.

My own husband had difficulty with eye contact after the affair, but once I made it clear that it was absolutely necessary to me, he came around and things began to improve. We actually did save our marriage and it is very strong today. If it helps, you can read the whole story of how I survived the affair on my blog at

How Long Should It Take To Let Go Of An Affair? Why Can’t My Spouse Let Go?

The time frame for letting go of an affair is a concern that I hear from people on both sides of the issue. For example, I sometimes hear from the spouse who was cheated on. Sometimes, they can’t help but notice that the spouse who cheated appears not to have totally “let go” of the other person. Sure, they may be saying that the affair is over and they want to save their marriage, but it can be pretty obvious that they are still sort of moping around. The faithful spouse may assume that this means that the cheating spouse misses the person they had the affair with or are sad that it’s over.

I often hear comments like: “my husband says the affair is over and that he is committed to me, our children, and our marriage. However, he’s doesn’t seem truly invested in any of these things. He mopes around. He doesn’t really participate in family life. He doesn’t seem particularly excited by me or our marriage. When I mention this to him, he says that he just needs some time. When I tell him that it appears to me that he’s not let go of the affair, he will again repeat that he needs some time. But it’s been about 4 months now. How much time does he really need? I’m starting to think that he’s never going to really get over it and our marriage is over. How much time should I give him before I just give up?”

Here’s another example but it comes from the cheating spouse. I recently heard from a husband who said that he’d had an affair about a year and a half ago. He had worked very hard to make things right with his wife. He had ended the affair and they had been faithfully attending counseling. He had done everything in his power to show his wife that he loved her and would not cheat again. However, the wife didn’t seem able to let it go. He said, in part: “We’re going on two years now and my wife still seems to unable to let my infidelity go. I have done everything in my power to make amends. I give her everything that she asks me for. But no matter what, she finds a way to bring up my affair, throw it in my face, and remain angry. I’m starting to think that she’s never going to get over this and frankly, I can’t live this way for the rest of my life. How much time should you give someone in this situation before you just decide the marriage was too damaged by the affair?”

I think that many of the people who ask me questions such as this are hoping that I will give them a set time line. I think that some of them are actually considering giving their spouse a deadline. Unfortunately, I can’t offer such a time line. Every person and situation is different. However, in the following article, I’ll offer you some tips and some things to consider in this situation.

Even Though There’s No Set Time Frame For Letting The Affair Go, You Want To See Some Progress. If You Don’t, You Want To Explore Why: Many faithful spouses can’t understand the need for closure from the spouse who cheated. After all, they decided to end the affair and walk away, so why is it hard for them to do just that? I’ve never cheated on my spouse. But I can share some of the sentiments from those that have on my blog. Some people in this situation tell me that it’s hard to have a relationship one day and then be just expected to turn your back on it the next. Additionally, many of them are responding to their guilt and shame for their actions. They know that they have let down both people. They know that you are angry and distrustful as a result of their actions. Therefore, it’s not that easy to act as if everything is back to normal or that nothing has changed.

I don’t tell you this to make excuses. I tell you this in the hopes to shed some light on this. However, even if your spouse is having trouble adjusting to life after their affair, they should cut off all contact with the other person and place their focus on you and your own family. You may not see them back to their old selves immediately, but the idea is that they do a little better each day while the both of you are trying to reconnect, rebuild, and heal.

If you are not seeing this, then you’ll want to have a very frank discussion to determine why. It’s normal for there to be an adjustment period, but you should also be seeing things gradually getting better.

On the flip side, if you are the spouse who cheated and you’re not seeing much improvement in your spouse’s ability to let your infidelity go, take a look at what you’ve done to help them heal. Because they need to believe without any doubt that you’re truly sorry, that you won’t cheat again, and that your marriage can and will recover.

What If I’m Not Seeing Any Progress Despite My Best Efforts? Do I Give My Spouse A Deadline To Let The Affair Go?: Sometimes when I tell spouses who have cheated this, they’ll respond with something like “but that’s just it. My wife doesn’t believe we can get through this, even though I know we can. How can I make her see that it’s safe to let this go? And if she can’t do I give her a deadline?”

Or, if I’m speaking with a faithful spouse I’ll hear things like “It’s as if the other woman still has a hold over my husband even though the affair is over. I’m doing everything in my power to restore my marriage, but he doesn’t seem interested in me.”

I know that both of these are two very separate issues, but usually the underlying problem is the same. In these situations, it’s my opinion that there are still some issues that haven’t been addressed or haven’t been solved enough that they aren’t still coming up. When I tell people this, they often insist that they have been through absolutely everything and they are tired of rehashing it all of the time. I understand this. But if you don’t settle all of the issues once and for all, they are only going to keep coming up and “letting go” of the affair becomes even more unlikely.

I know that it can be painful and awkward to revisit the past but you have to make sure that you have covered all of the bases and been willing to “go there” with your spouse to show them that you are willing to do whatever is needed to help them to move on.

Admittedly, they are some people who will eventually realize that they just can’t let the affair or the infidelity go and this will end their marriage. But I also think that there are people who think that this is the case with them, when in reality, they just haven’t yet gotten what they needed. And, once they do, they are able to put this past them. Because the truth is, no one enjoys struggling with themselves or their marriage after an affair. The vast majority of people truly do want to move on and let go, but they don’t always have the tools to do so.

That’s why I never think it’s a good idea to give your spouse an ultimatum or a deadline. If YOU make the choice to move on without your spouse, then this is your prerogative (although I’d recommend trying some of the tips in this article first.) But I don’t think you can or should attempt to force them to make theirs.

There was a time when I thought I would never be able to let go of my husband’s affair, but this is in the past. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger. 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

How Can I Get Over My Husband’s Affair Once And For All?

By: katie lersch: If you’re Googling and researching phrases like “how to survive an affair,” “how to forgive my husband’s affair,” “how to get past an affair,” etc., then I can certainly identify and empathize with you and hope that I can help. My husband had an affair several years ago and at that time, I thought my world was ending and could not see past it for a long time.  But, although I never would have believed it at the time, not only did I survive it, it actually made our marriage stronger. No, it wasn’t easy and it took a lot of patience and work, but in the end, the affair brought certain issues into the light that were hiding in the dark, issues that I never knew existed, but which were laying in wait, ready to sabotage my marriage. The affair also gave rise to self esteem issues that I had been battling for a long time, but finally overcame. However, first things first. This article will give you some tools to help you survive or get over your husband’s affair.
Don’t Obsess Over The Issues That Won’t Help Your Healing, Like Details About The Other Woman Or Who Knew About The Affair: I know that this may sound impossible to you now, but trust me when I tell you that obsessing over the other woman or what she has that you don’t, (who she is, how they met, what she looks like, etc.) will not help you heal. All it is going to do is contribute to a destructive cycle that feeds upon itself and only makes the situation and your mental state worse. It’s perfectly normal to wonder about this, but it just isn’t worth it. It will only put destructive images in your head that will be hard to banish.
There’s a well known infidelity study which polled married men who had cheated. Only 12% of them said “the other woman” was prettier than their wife.  So put that worry to rest. There’s nothing special about her. Another common place where we get tripped up is that we want to know ALL the ways that we were betrayed. We want to know who else knew and how this whole charade was pulled off. So, if one of our neighbors or friends knew, then we will then turn our rage towards them too. The problem is that now we will begin to feel that the whole world has conspired against us, when really, this isn’t true. Feeling like a black cloud is hanging over you is only going to delay in your healing. No good is going to come of it.  For me, people I trusted (my husband) deceived me, but others (neighbors) were trying to protect me. Understand that there are really only two people to place direct blame upon here – your husband and her. Of those two, your husband is the only one that you want to have contact with – this should be the only relationship with which you concern yourself.
When You Are Ready, Understand Why The Affair Happened: It may be a while before you are ready to hear and understand the full details of the affair, (you may never want to hear it all) and you may need help understanding what your husband is really saying. Men are sometimes horrible at effectively communicating their feelings. They will give you vague, silly explanations like “it was just a mistake,” “it didn’t mean anything,” or “it’s not me, it’s you.” These things can sometimes sound like lies your husband is either telling himself or telling you.
However, you may be surprised to know that according to much research and counseling I have participated in, these phrases are often rooted in the truth.  Many men cheat simply because they’ve lost important feeling about themselves. I’ll explain. When a man is young and in love, he feels virile, alive, attractive, worthy, and competent. This is often because the woman he loves is lavishing a lot of attention, appreciation, and affection his way (often when you are first dating). Eventually though, married couples have to focus on other obligations like your job, your kids, your aging parents, etc. Many wives assume that their husband sees their struggle to juggle it all, knows that you love him, and would give him more time and attention if you could.
This assumption is partly wrong. Men feel guilty to want and need so much of your attention. So, instead of saying “hey honey, you know all those good feelings we were generating? Well, I want to get them back. Can I have more of your time?,” they will go and try to generate these feelings somewhere else. (Of course, this is messed up logic, but they don’t see it at the time.) Often, they don’t mean to hurt you, it really doesn’t mean a whole to them, and they never think you will find out. So, they assume they will just take care of this problem themselves and then everything will carry on. (This is unbelievably wrong, but they don’t understand this.)
In the infidelity study I mentioned earlier, over 77% of the men surveyed said they were “deeply sorry,” about the affair. And the vast majority said they cheated for EMOTIONAL not  PHYSICAL reasons. Many people assume that affairs are all about sex. They aren’t and it’s a huge mistake to think so. Knowing this then, should at least give you a foot hold on how to proceed. You absolutely need for your husband to understand the devastation of his actions. He is certainly not blameless. But likewise, you need to understand the factors that contributed to the affair so that you can address them if you want to save your marriage, if you want to.
Turn The Focus Away From Him (At Least Initially) And Turn It Towards Healing Yourself And Boosting Your Self Esteem:  Obviously, especially at first, the affair is going to encompass a huge chunk of your life. However, don’t let yourself get lost in the mix. Don’t put yourself on the back burner. So often, a woman whose husband has cheated will have a huge blow dealt to her self esteem. She will feel old, ugly, and not sexually alluring. Please understand that although these feelings are natural and understandable, they will eat you alive.  And, this self doubt is a marriage killer.  Your husband may be very sincere when he tells you that he still finds you extremely attractive, but self doubt or low self esteem will ensure that you don’t believe him.
It’s a vicious cycle. Take great pains to focus on your own self care and your own self worth. Get a complete make over. Take up a new hobby. Get out and see friends. Do whatever you need to do to put a genuine smile on your face. This will send a distinct message to your husband and to your own self conscience. In order to really “get over an affair,” you need to fully understand that it wasn’t your fault and that there is nothing at all wrong with you or something that some other woman had that you don’t or didn’t. This was a horrible, unfortunate decision your husband made that has less to do with you then you might think. But, you can heal from it – and so can your marriage, if that is what you want. Yes, it may take a bit of work, but in the end, I know from experience that you, and your marriage, can emerge stronger as a result.
Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage is stronger than ever after my husband’s affair. 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 that my husband will cheat again. You can read my story on my blog at

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

What Should The Other Woman Do When The Wife Founds Out About The Affair?

I sometimes hear from women who have been cheating with someone who is married. Some of the time, they truly believed that in due time, the man’s marriage was going to come to a natural and mutual end so that the two of them could be together. They wanted to believe that the marriage had grown stale so that both people would mutually agree to end the marriage. Once this happens, then that would free up the husband to pursue a new relationship.

As we all know, this isn’t usually the way that it happens. Usually, the wife finds out about the affair and the marriage does not just end by both people mutually agreeing to it in a healthy way. The wife is usually hurt and angry and, believe it or not, the husband usually panics and immediately chases after his wife, suddenly afraid that he’s going to lose his family.

Understandably, this can leave the other woman confused. This isn’t how things were presented to her. And where is she in all of this? You can see how she would feel left out in the cold and unsure about how to proceed. She might say: “I feel stupid admitting that I honestly thought I was going to live happily ever after with the man that I was dating. I knew that he was married, but he presented it to me like he was working on untangling himself from that. Still, he was always careful that his wife would not find out. But she did. And I was shocked when he immediately told me that he could not see me anymore and begged me not to make this harder than it already was. I’m very shocked by this. And I feel set aside and hurt. Now this guy and his wife are scrambling to save their family, but what about me? I feel like I need to do something. I feel like I am left out in the cold of all of this. I am tempted to try to contact his wife and plead my case. I want her to know that the husband represented to me that their marriage was over. I want for her to have all of the information so that she doesn’t think that her husband is loyal to her. And I want to see the other man and plead my case also. After all that we have been through, it is annoying that he is just going to walk away. What should I do right now?”

Honestly, I am not sure that you are going to like my answer but it is heartfelt and is what I honestly feel and believe. I will admit that I have been the wife in this situation, but I’ve had friends in your situation and I hear from many on the other side of the equation. I can tell you that statistically, the husband and wife generally end up together. It may take a while. And there can definitely be some uncertainty, but statistics show us that it is MUCH more likely for the husband to go back to his wife than to have a lasting relationship with the other person.  You can check this for yourself, but that is what the statistics show. That is why I do not recommend that you reach out to either of them. It is only going to hurt, annoy, and frustrate everyone involved and the chances are high that it is not going to affect the outcome in the long run. You’ll only be causing pain to yourself, the husband, and the wife.

I know that a big driving force for you right now is that you feel set aside and ignored. One reason for this is that it feels as if your course of action is set by someone else. Since the husband and wife have the marriage, THEY get to decide how things proceed, which can seem very unfair. So how do you get a sense of control back? By bowing out gracefully from this trio and focusing on YOURSELF, your own well being, and your own happiness. Take control back of your own life. Ask yourself why you’d be vulnerable to settling for a man who couldn’t be solely yours. Fix your self esteem and then vow to only give your heart to men that are free to return your love and be yours alone. All women deserve nothing less. I know that this might not be what you wanted to hear, but I believe that it is the healthiest option. It gives you control of your life, it really is the right thing to do for all involved, and it doesn’t force you to go against the odds. Trying to hurt others usually ends up only hurting you. There’s more than enough hurt to go around right now, so you can never go wrong with focusing on your own healing instead.

Believe it or not, I only want the best for all involved.  Statistics show that the odds are very much against a relationship that started as an affair.  Most of the time, it ends with hurt and regret.  The odds are better for the marriage, but even that can be extremely difficult.  You can read more about the road I traveled on my blog at

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