My Husband Doesn’t Understand How His Affair Affected Me

by: katie lersch: I often hear from wives who are struggling to make their husbands understand just how devastating and far reaching his affair truly was. Many wives struggle with making their husband understand that moving on or getting over the affair is going to take far longer (and much more work) than the husband may have realized.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “my husband’s affair has been over for about three months.  It’s becoming obvious that he feels like my time to grieve and process this is up.  He wonders aloud when I’m going to recover and for how much longer I’m going to “dwell on” the affair or on the past.  He often makes comments like ‘the past is in the past.  Now it’s time to move on and start again.  We can’t life our lives always dwelling on the past or dredging up the pain from yesterday.’   It’s as if he thinks that I should just turn off my feelings or quiet my doubts because he’s tired of having to deal with my pain.  He doesn’t seem to understand how his affair affected me and continues to affect me.  It floored me.  It hurt me deeply.  It made me question my judgment, my marriage, and my ability to trust and to love.  I no longer feel like the same person in the same marriage.  I am trying to improve and move forward, but I certainly don’t like feeling rushed or being made to feel as if I’m not making progress fast enough.  I don’t think that any of this is fair.  How is it right that he gets to hurt me this way and then get impatient as I try to recover?  How can I make him understand how his affair affected me so that he has more patience during my recovery? Because every time I try to explain this to him, he says I’m dwelling on the past or holding onto the pain.”  I’ll address these concerns in the following article.

Actions That Probably Won’t Make Your Husband Understand How His Affair Affected You: Before I get into some things that might help with this situation, I’d like to go over some very common reactions and strategies, that, although understandable, often don’t work all that well.  Many wives will wonder if having their own affair will “force” their husband to see just how it feels to be cheated on.  So, many will consider cheating (or at least making their husband think that they are.)  I so rarely see this work or even not turn out to be a disaster. The husband is often so angry that he’s not in any position to feel any empathy for or try to understand the wife any better.  And the wife will often have even more baggage to carry and even more feelings and struggles to deal with.

Another thing to wives are often tempted to try in this situation is to attempt to communicate in a very dramatic way so that their husband has no choice but to listen or pay attention.  A wife will often tell me that she finally explodes and begins yelling things like: “do you have any idea how this feels?  Do you have any idea what it’s like to know that your spouse who was supposed to love, honor and cherish you slept with someone else?  Do you any idea what this does to your self esteem and your ability to trust?”  Although these are all valid questions which often might cause your husband to slow down and think, we often say them in such a way that he feels defensive rather than sympathetic.

Understand Why Your Husband Probably Doesn’t Completely Want To Know Or Understand Just How Deeply His Affair Affected You: Here’s something else I’d like for you to consider.  Even if your husband doesn’t realize this,  he often has a vested interested in downplaying just how devastating his affair has been to you.  He usually already feels a lot of guilt and remorse about his actions.  And he really wants to believe that you and will recover because this helps to alleviate some of his guilt.

So if he has to face the difficult truth that you are still hurting, still struggling, and not yet recovered from actions that he set into motion, then he still has to feel those negative feelings of guilt, shame and remorse all over again.  Often, the husband who cheated wants to feel better and wants to recover in the same way that his wife does.  But part of his being able to feel better about himself means that you feel better too.  So he’s often reluctant to admit or acknowledge when this isn’t happening.  But you can sometimes use this knowledge to your advantage.

Tips On How To Make Your Husband Understand The Multiple Ways That His Affair Has Affected You: I understand that you are extremely motivated to get your husband to understand the way that you feel and why you’re struggling.  But  you are more likely to get the result that you want if you can deliver the message with calm, measured words so that it’s clear that you’re not trying to hurt him, but are merely trying to make him understand you better.

So, at time when emotions aren’t boiling over and you are as calm as is possible, you might consider saying (or writing) something like:  “I know that both of us just want to feel better and want to move on.  I want that too.  But I want for you to understand why I’m struggling because of how deeply this affair has affected me.  I’m not telling you this to make you feel worse or continue to pin point blame.  My intention is for you to understand what I’m feeling so that hopefully you can help me to move forward so that we can both feel some relief eventually. But please understand that your affair has made me reluctant to trust you and my own perceptions.  I do want to move on and to trust again, but this is a struggle for me because when I did those things before, I was betrayed.  And I’m reluctant to offer my trust again because I never want to feel this type of pain again in the future.  This has made my doubt myself, my own desirability, and our ability to put our marriage first before we make decisions that might destroy it.  I’m not telling you this to paint a negative picture or to insinuate that we can’t or will never recover.  I just want for you to know how and why I’m struggling so that you will have patience with me and help me to move past this.  I’m asking you to imagine that it was you who were the one who was betrayed before you’re critical of my progress or lose your patience with me.”

I know that making him understand you and your struggles is difficult.  But sometimes, you just have to keep moving forward while continuing to have patience with yourself and demanding that you be given the time and space to heal.  Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, after a long struggle, I did eventually truly get over the affair. It didn’t happen overnight, but I know longer worry my husband will cheat again. If it helps, you can read more of that story on my blog at

My Husband Won’t Reach Out To Me Because Of His Affair And Guilt From It

By: Katie Lersch:  Here is something that isn’t talked about a lot after an affair and is somewhat hard to understand:  Often, if you are the faithful wife, you want your husband to reach out to you.  This is true even if you know that you may not even want him.  Still, you want for him to want you.  Because this would indicate remorse, sorrow, and longing  This would help your wounded self esteem and would confirm that the man that you married is there somewhere.   Unfortunately, this sort of reaching out is not always so easy.   The wife may suspect that the husband wants to reach out to her, but for some reason, he doesn’t.  This can be because of shame, or guilt, or an inability to communicate after being caught in such an unflattering situation.  This leaves the wife wondering how to proceed.  She definitely doesn’t want to beg him to reach out to her.  (She shouldn’t have to do that, after all.)  But she wants some sort of reassurance because this might make her feel better.

So she asks: “is it normal for a husband to retreat after an affair because of guilt?  My husband says he’s sorry.  Or I should clarify that he writes that he is sorry.  He doesn’t talk to me directly about this.  He leaves me little notes or cards.  He tells me how sorry he is and says that he hopes that one day we can recover from this.  But then when we are physically together, he does not look me in the eye.  He does not try to touch me or hold me or even offer me any reassurance.  He just awkwardly stands there and looks at his feet like it’s the saddest time of his life.  A part of me feels sorry for him, but I also feel like he made this mess.  And he needs to clean it up. But I have my doubts that he is going to do that when all he can do is look sad and stare at his feet.  I want him to reach out to me if for nothing else than it will give me the option to reject him.  The other day, I got frustrated and I asked him if he were going to just sit there and be mute for the rest of our lives.  I asked him why he never says anything.  His response was that his guilt as paralyzed him and he doesn’t feel as if he has the right to speak with, interact with, or physically reach out to me.   He almost insinuated that he was waiting for me to take the lead, which frankly all but enrages me.  I have to tolerate his cheating and now I am stuck having to be the one who initiates everything when he is the one who cheated?  That hardly seems fair.”

You’re right. It doesn’t seem fair at all.  But it’s not uncommon. Unfaithful spouses can have a very strong and understandable fear of rejection.  They know that they deserve your anger and wrath.  They know that it’s very possible that the second they try to reach out to you, that they are going to be rebuffed – or even worse.  So they allow their fear to direct their actions.  In short, they are waiting for some sign from you to tell them that it’s “safe” or “appropriate” for them to reach out.  Whether or not the wife decides to allow this or not is up to her.  Some wives will choose to wait and see if the husband eventually becomes more comfortable or decides that he needs to go ahead and risk rejection.

Other wives will lose patience and will try to address it with something like: “I know that you’ve said that your guilt keeps you from communicating or reaching out, but I’m not sure that we can go on like this.  There’s not much for me to explain or to say as I am not the one who cheated.  So I can’t really take the initiative and I can not read your mind.   At the same time, if there is any remorse or insight that you need to share with me so that we can begin to make decisions about what we might want to do moving forward, now would be the time to share those.   It’s going to be very hard for us to make progress when you don’t communicate or express your wishes in any way.  I know that you say that you are guilty or afraid, but I think that you need to move past this and just buck up the courage because this is our marriage that we are talking about.   There has been an affair, so the desire for comfort and guarantees is not realistic here.   I have not been able to avoid feeling rejection and pain.  I don’t think it’s realistic for you to think that you won’t feel any discomfort moving forward.  If we don’t ever communicate, we probably won’t have a chance.  So it is going to be your decision if you want to continue to hunker down without reaching out to me.”

Wait and see how he responds.  He may tell you that he honestly felt that you didn’t want anything from him.  That’s where it gets tricky because you may be feeling conflicting emotions.  You might want the reassurance of him reaching out, but once he does it, you may not be completely comfortable with reassuring him.  There is often a long way to go before you can offer true reassurance.  So you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you insinuating that he has nothing to fear or that you’re offering guarantees.  But you want it to be clear that he should make the effort regardless.   And, as the faithful spouse, getting the ball rolling isn’t your responsibility, but if you want to give him a nudge by having a conversation, there is nothing wrong with this.

My husband did wait around for hints and gestures from me to give him the “go ahead” so to speak.  I wasn’t having this and had to spell it out.  I wanted and needed for HIM to take the initiative since it was his actions that caused all of the fall out.  He did eventually take responsibility and became very proactive and motivated. You can read more at

Having Sex For The First Time With Your Husband After He Cheated

I get a lot of emails from wives who are concerned about what sex is going to be like after their husband cheated or had an affair.  Many are trying very hard to save their marriages.  They are doing everything they can to move on in a positive way.

But sex can be a whole different story in this equation because it’s just so raw.  There’s really no where to hide.  If it’s awkward or awful this can negatively affect your attempts to save your marriage and get things back to normal.  And, some women fear that they (or their husband) are going to think about the other woman during sex.

They other worry that either they or their husband won’t get aroused or turned on and that the whole encounter might be a disaster.   And if it’s a disaster, what does this say about his attraction for and desire for you and about the marriage?

This is a shame because sometimes sexual issues after cheating or an affair don’t have everything to do with sexual desire or the lack of it.  A lot of emotions, doubt, fear, and resentment can be tied to sex after cheating.

In the following article, I’ll offer some tips to help make sure the first time you have sex with your husband after cheating is a good experience rather than a bad one.

Although It’s Very Tempting:  Don’t Rush Sex After His Cheating Or Affair:  I admit that I was very tempting to rush into sex after my husband’s affair –  not because I particularly wanted to have it with him, but because I wanted confirmation that he would still find me attractive or be turned on by me.

And I think part of me wanted for him to want me so I could turn around and turn him down.  I know this was silly thinking on my part and a potential power play but that’s the way I felt.  However, after hearing from people I respect, I decided I would be better off waiting and I’m so glad I did because the experience was actually quite good rather than awkward, in genuine, or forced.

If you have any doubt or reservation, I think it is better to wait.  Honestly, if you can wait until the moment is absolutely right and you both want to be together more than anything else and can’t wait another moment, this is how you know that you have waited long enough.

I know it’s very tempting to want the reassurance of sex.  You want to connect again.  You want affirmation.  But isn’t it better to know that you can freely participate without doubt or pain?   I know that husbands have a tendency to pressure you for sex because they want to know that you are forgiven them.

But part of your healing process is putting yourself and your needs first.  You can gently and lovingly tell him that, when you do have sex, you want it to be special and you aren’t sure you’re at that point yet, but that he will be the first to know.  You can phrase it in a playful way that isn’t a rejection.

Regaining Your Sexual Confidence After Your Husband Cheated Or Had An Affair:  To me, the one thing that is going to make sex after an affair good is your own confidence.  If you go into this worried that he doesn’t find you desirable or that the experience isn’t going to be good, this is going to affect the outcome and both of your levels of enjoyment.  I know you might hope that your doubts or reluctance won’t be obvious, but it generally is.

So, I actually think it’s a very good idea to work on rebuilding your self esteem before you have sex with your husband again.  Tweak your appearance if it bothers you, get something amazing to wear so that you can feel your best.

A resource that I’m affiliated with and can recommend is an ebook called “Her Secrets.”   I will give you fair warning that it’s a bit racy.   It teaches you how to tweak your sexual skills and, shall we say and incorporate things that men REALLY like in bed so that at least you can have the confidence that the experience is going to be good for him.

And quite frankly, isn’t that what we all want? To know that sex with us is so good that he doesn’t want or need to go and get it anywhere else?  With that said though, I don’t ever want for you to feel as though you have to put on a performance or do everything right to earn his love or desire.

Because this is as much about an emotional connection as it about a physical one. If your mind isn’t into it, your body can’t be either.  That’s why I recommend making sure you have done everything that you need to heal before you resume your sex life.

I know it’s a lot to ask to wait, but I suspect you will be glad you did.  I’m very glad I did.  The experience was a very good one and our marriage is back on firmer ground.  In fact, we’re never been more solid. If you’d like, you’re welcome to read my story on my blog at  I hope something here has helped!

My Spouse Who Cheated Does Not Come Home Sometimes And Says He’s Punishing Himself

By: Katie Lersch:  When you are dealing with a husband who has had an affair, its understandable that you would want for him to come home on time and each and every night.  His doing so would at least provide some reassurance that he’s no longer spending his night time activities with the other person.  Some would assume that a husband caught cheating would make a point to be home every night, but this is not the case for some husbands.  In fact some will insist that they want to save their marriages, but yet they stay away some of the time, giving varying excuses for the same.

A wife might say: “I honestly don’t think that my husband is continuing to cheat on me.  I believe that I have scared him so badly that he knows better than to cheat.  Still, he doesn’t come home every night.  He claims to stay with his mom and I’m pretty sure that this is true because when I talk to her, she will reference my husband being there.  I think that this is ridiculous.  I even told my husband that him not coming home looks suspicious and like he’s not committed.  He insists that he is committed, but always says that he is punishing himself by not coming home because he doesn’t think that he deserves to stay in our nice, marital home when he cheated.  So instead, he will suffer on the fold out couch at his mother’s.  I am never sure how exactly to address this.  On the one hand, I agree that he doesn’t exactly deserve every martial perk.  He certainly deserves to feel badly about what he has done.  At the same time, if he does not come home regularly, then I am not sure how we are going to work it out.  And yet, a few days out of every week, he will just not show up at home.  He won’t let me know in any way.  He just never walks through the door.  I’m not sure why he needs to pile on this additional problem when we already have some many.”

There are a couple of possible motivations for him.  But you obviously know him very well, whereas I don’t know him at all. So you would certainly be a better judge of his motivations.  It’s very normal for a man to be extremely angry and disappointed in himself after an affair.  It can also be normal to take that a step further and to want to punish himself or to deny himself any happiness.  However, some of the time, this “punishing” thing is actually posturing.   He’s hoping that you will ask or beg him to start coming home so that he will be in a better position moving forward.  To be fair, this may not be his strategy, or, even if it is, he may not even realize that he is doing it.  (Frankly, it’s natural for both parties to want reassurance and to want to feel better.   And his wanting you to ask him to stay home might be a reflection of this.)

But you get to decide if you just want to accept his rotating living arrangements or if you want to attempt to address the issue.  Him not always coming home is problematic because it leaves you unsure as to how he is spending his time at night.  That’s why I would suggest something like: “I hear you saying that you go to your mother’s to punish yourself.  But, I think that if you are being truthful or sincere about wanting to save our marriage, you need to choose another way.  I’m not accusing you of continuing to cheat, but when you just don’t come home over and over again, this could theoretically be read as suspicious behavior.  And it’s just not indicative of a man who is doing whatever is necessary to save his marriage.  I can’t promise that life will always be butterflies and sunshine every night that you come home.  But that’s part of committing to working it out, regardless of any guarantees.   Of course, where you go from here is up to you.  But I want to make it clear that your not coming home is a behavior that is going to be problematic moving forward.  Regardless of wanting to punish yourself, it doesn’t look like the behavior of a man who is sincere and who wants to take responsibility for his actions.”

I worded this carefully.  Because I didn’t want it to look like you were begging him to come home or reassuring him that once he did, you would be accommodating and wouldn’t press him about the affair.  In my experience, it’s unrealistic to make promises like that so early in the process.   But even this early on, both parties need to at least show some sincerity, good faith, and a willingness to deal with one another.  And his not coming home is not a great example of the type of behavior that you are looking for.

My husband did occasionally try to posture in order to get me to say or do something that would reassure him after I caught him having an affair.  Frankly, it didn’t work.  I didn’t have many reassurances for him at that time.  And I did not want to play games.  I had to spell this out, however, before he would quit. You can read more on my blog at

My Husband Is Hot And Cold After He Cheated And Had An Affair. Why Is He Acting This Way?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from wives who are very upset with their husband’s changing behaviors after his affair.  Often, he will be affectionate and sweet one day, only to be cold and distant the next.   I heard from a wife who said: “after my husband admitted to an affair, he started sobbing and told me that his biggest fear was losing me and the kids.  He begged me to give him a chance to make this up to me.  I was hesitant but I don’t want to lose my family either.  So I told him we would see what happened.  He agreed to go to counseling and we have been going weekly.  It helps a little but our biggest problem is that he is hot and then he’s cold.  One day he can’t show me enough  affection and attention and the next day, he is distant.  And when he is distant, this makes me wonder if he is thinking about the other woman or having doubts about me and our marriage.  When I ask him why he acts this way, he tells me that he is doing the best he can and that sometimes he gets down about his actions and what he has done to us but this doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me.  After I bring this to his attention, he will be attentive and loving again for a couple of days and then he’ll start creating distance and isolating himself again.  I’m just so discouraged by this because I don’t want to live the rest of my life with a husband who isn’t sure how he feels about me or our marriage.  Is this going to last forever?”

It often does not last forever.  And the reason for it doesn’t always mean that your husband lacks feelings for you.  I’ll discuss this more below.

Why Husbands Can Be Hot And Cold After The Infidelity:  Just for a second, I want for you to stop and take inventory of your feelings for the last couple of weeks.  Having been through this myself, I can tell you that I suspect there have been days when you’ve felt a little better and then there have likely been days where you have felt just horrible about your situation.  The same can be true for your husband.  He likely feels a good bit of guilt and shame for his actions.  This can cause him to isolate himself and brood.

And then perhaps something or someone (likely you) will lift his spirits a little bit and his negative feelings abate for a while.  And this is when you will see him being affectionate or “hot” toward you.   And then a little bit of self doubt will begin to creep in and thus you will see him begin to back off and go through his “cold” phase.  As frustrating as this can be, it can be normal.  But that doesn’t mean that it’s conducive to your recovery, which is why communication is so important, which leads me to my next point.

How To Handle It When Your Husband Has Swinging Emotions After An Affair:  There’s no reason to suffer in silence.  You can address this without being critical and without making things worse.  Don’t be surprised, however, if your husband responds that you too change your emotions quite often.  The next time you notice him cooling off, you might say something like: “I can’t help but notice that your behavior today is different than yesterday when you were very affectionate.  It makes me feel reassured when you show me affection because it tells me that you are still attracted and committed to me.  It makes me feel as if our marriage is worth fighting for.  But then you cool off and you seem as if you don’t want anything to do with me.  This makes me wonder if you are having second thoughts about us and that really hurts.  It would help if you could communicate how you feel when you isolate yourself.  I understand that we both have bad days when we’re trying to get through this.  But there are bad days, I still need your reassurance because if I begin to think that you aren’t really attracted or committed to me, then we’re going to struggle. Can I ask you to just stay connected when you feel the need to go inward?”

Hopefully, you can see that this script encourages you to ask for what you want and need, but it’s careful not be judgmental or accusatory.  You’re trying to find some common ground and you’re admitting that you’re having your own struggles so you understand that there are going to be some difficult days.  However, communicating and continuing to check in and attempt to connect with one another even when those doubts set in can make all of the difference.  Simply saying “honey, I’m having a hard time today.  Can we maybe go for a walk to just wind down before dinner?” can make a huge difference with how you perceive things.  Because if you can just touch base during the difficult days, misunderstandings are much less likely to happen and you will then be able to pick up when you’re both feeling a little better.  Over time, as you begin to heal, there should be many more “hot” days and many less “cold” days.

My husband and I both went through our emotional ups and downs when we were trying to recover from his affair.  Sometimes, when one of us would retreat the other would make assumptions that just weren’t true.  That’s why it’s so important to keep communicating.  Over time, as healing became more complete, the ups and downs diminished.  Today, there are many ups and very few downs.  If it helps you can read the story of our recovery on my blog at

Staying Together After Infidelity: When Does It Get Easier?

By: Katie Lersch:  I often hear from people who have made the very difficult decision not to walk away from their marriage after an affair.  Many have committed to this decision because they really do feel that it is the best thing for themselves, their family, or their marriage.  But despite their determination or best intentions, there’s no question that this is a very difficult process that moves on its own slow timeline.

Since it’s no fun to go through, people will often want to speed it up, or at least know when it might feel easier.  Someone might ask: “when is my marriage going to feel easier after my husband’s affair?  I agreed to try to make our marriage work.  And it took me a long time to get to that place.  In the first couple of weeks, it made me feel ill to even have him in my presence.  But eventually, I decided that splitting up would be so hard on my kids.  And my husband did seem genuinely remorseful and was begging me to give him a chance.  So I told him that I’d give him three months to show me that he was serious.  I can tell that he is trying. But things just feel so darn awkward between us.  When he hugs or tries to kiss me, I recoil and I am always suspicious of his motivations.  I wonder if he really feels this affection toward me or he is just trying to make me feel better.  I keep telling myself that tomorrow is going to be better.  But it never feels all that much better.  My husband alternates between being tentative and resentful.  I alternate between being distrustful, angry, and sad.  I was willing to give this a try.  But if it always going to feel this awful, I don’t know if I have it in me to stick it out.  When does it get better?”

Having gone through this, I can tell you that time does help.  But time alone typically not completely ideal.  I’ve thought long and hard about this and I believe that I can identify the happenings that made things easier for me.  I know that everyone’s experience is going to be different.  But maybe sharing this will offer someone a little reassurance.

It Helps When You Notice Your Husband Showing Sincerity And Integrity Over Time:  In the beginning, all you really have are his words and his promises.  You want to believe him.  But he’s proven some dishonesty.  So understandably, you worry that he’s not trustworthy.  In order for him to prove that he is in fact trustworthy, some time is going to have to pass.  And you are going to need to see that, over and over again, he is doing exactly what he has promised.  You need to see him having integrity and being sincere even when he thinks that you are not looking. You need to see him doing the right thing even when it’s not easy to do so.  Once this has been happening again and again, you can start to relax about his sincerity.

It’s Extremely Helpful When You Obtain A Plan Or Some Guidance: One of the biggest problems I see is that people proclaim that they are going to stay in their marriage, but then they don’t make any change or try to implement any rehabilitation.  As a result, every one lives in fear of the cheating happening again.  No one can relax. There’s no progress because there’s no plan.  It’s vital to have a roadmap to get yourself out of this.  A counselor can mean that you don’t have to work as hard or feel as lost because they can create the road map for you.  But if you don’t want to go the counseling route, there are many self help resources that can allow you to do this for yourself.

It’s Beneficial When You Begin To Understand That With Determination, This Isn’t Going To Beat You:  I know first hand that there is a real tendency to beat yourself up after infidelity.  Even when you are not the one who cheated, you can feel like you did something wrong.  You can feel like you’re being punished again and again.  I found it helpful to get out of the victim mentality.  It also helped immensely when I worked on building my self esteem.  Once I gained confidence, I realized that no matter what happened, I would be OK.  I realized that I did not need to define my life and my happiness through someone else.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I want my marriage.  I want my husband.  But I also know that if either of these things were taken away, I’d be OK.  Because I am always going to have myself.  Knowing that you are going to be OK regardless is very freeing.  And it helps to remove the intense pressure and the paralyzing anger.  When you realize that you are responsible for your own happiness and your own experience, you feel so much more in control.

And frankly, a lack of control is one of the things that makes an affair so devastating.  One way to take back that control is to strengthen yourself so that you know that someone else’s whims and mistakes are not going to define you.

No one expects all of the above to happen immediately or simultaneously.  But when they do happen, you feel relief.  It does get better.

I remember when I was in the same place that you are now.  I was afraid that every day was going to be the same miserable experience.  Very slowly, as I acted with deliberation and kept track of my progress, I began to see some improvement.  I learned that things moved more slowly when I waited for improvement rather than actively trying to get it.  You can read more about that process on my blog at

My Husband Says He Does Not Think About His Affair Anymore. How Is This Possible?

by: katie lersch: Many women who contact me confess that they often wonder just how much their husband thinks about the other woman once the affair is over.  Many husbands will downplay this or deny that he ever thinks about her.  And many of the wives have a very hard time believing this.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “the other day my husband had a far away look on his face.  He was distant and a million miles away.  I suspected that he was thinking about the woman with whom he recently had an affair.  But when I confronted him about this, he said that not only was he not thinking about her at that time, but that he never thinks about her anymore at all.  This just hit me the wrong way because I felt like he had to be lying.  And if he wasn’t lying, what does it say about him that he can have a physical relationship with someone and just walk away without a backward glance?  Is it even possible for a husband not to think about the other woman?  Because I have to admit that I still think about her quite a lot.  I can’t help it.  The thoughts and images just pop into my head, even when I don’t welcome them.  How is the same not true for him?”  I will address these concerns in the following article.

Is A Husband Lying When He Claims He Never Thinks About The Other Woman Or The Affair?  Is This Even Possible? These are difficult questions because it’s impossible for anyone to get inside the mind of the heart of another person.  I can tell you that some (but certainly not all) men will try to downplay the affair or the other person because they are trying to spare you pain and they truly do want to save their marriage.

So, they aren’t going to share any thoughts that they fear might make this less likely.  And, they know that if they admit to still thinking about the other woman or the relationship from time to time (even if it’s not even in a wistful or positive way,) this is going to hurt you or bring about more issues for you.  So, they figure it’s best to keep their thoughts to themselves, especially if those thoughts don’t really matter to them and aren’t going to help their cause.

With that said, many men will tell you that the affair was an impulsive act that truly didn’t have many emotional ramifications for them.  Even though literature and statistics will suggest that men cheat for at least partly emotional reasons (and I agree with this,) many of those same men will deny that this was the case for them.  They’ll tell you that this was just a short term thing that happened while they weren’t thinking clearly, that they now deeply regret it, and that they are perfectly willing and able to move on without a lot of emotional baggage or thought.

And although I am not and would never defend a man who cheats, I do believe that many men who make these declarations do believe what they say.  Because if you dig a little deeper and speak at length about this, it can become clear that, were it not for their wife constantly bringing the affair and the other woman up, they could merely walk away quite easily. They’ll tell you this is because they don’t forge the emotional attachments that wives fear the most.

I often hear comments like: “my wife is always asking me if I still think about the affair.  Honestly, if she wouldn’t constantly bring it up, I don’t think I’d ponder it much at all.  It’s in the past and I see no reason at all to keep dwelling on it all of the time.  But my wife can’t seem to let it go.  She’s constantly asking me about what I’m thinking and how I feel. She can’t or won’t just drop it.  How can we move on when she’s constantly picking at the scab that is trying to heal? She thinks I’m lying when I tell her I don’t think about it.  I guess that is not entirely untrue, but, if I think about it at all, it’s because she constantly brings it up.  It’s like she wants to think that this other person and I shared this great love affair that will never end when nothing is further from the truth.  I could go my entire life without needing to contact or think or this person again but my wife won’t let it rest.”

Now, whether comments like this are entirely true or not, these are the type of things that I often hear. The husband will insist that he rarely longs for (and much less thinks about) the other woman, but his wife just won’t let it rest and is constantly bringing the topic back to the affair so that it’s impossible not to think about it.

How To Handle It When You Wonder Whether Your Husband Continues To Think About The Affair: It’s totally natural and understandable to wonder where your husband’s thoughts and loyalties lie.  It’s challenging to save your marriage or to move on when you’re worried that he would rather be with someone else or that someone else has taken up residence in his mind. But, when you truly can’t know what he’s thinking or feeling, does it make sense to keep bringing his attention back to that person who you want him to completely distance himself and his thoughts from?

Often, without even realizing that we are doing it, we allow the fear inside us to drive our actions and our decisions.  The thing that we most fear is for our husbands to still think about (or long for) this other woman.  Yet, by continuing to bring her up, ask about her, or demand that our husband define exactly how much he is thinking about or feeling for her, we keep allowing her presence into our lives.  I know that you really want and need to know the truth about whether he continues to think about the affair, but sometimes if you back off of this topic and focus on your marriage and your healing instead, you will make it more likely that you will get the answer that you really want.

I know that dealing with these doubts can be very challenging and painful, but plowing through 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 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

Why Won’t My Husband Just Be Honest About His Affair? Here’s Some Potential Reasons

By Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who can’t get their husbands to be honest about his affair.   Sometimes, the husband has admitted to cheating but he’s trying to diminish or downplay the severity of it.  Other times, the husband is flat out denying he had an affair even though the wife knows that he did or has evidence to prove it.  This can be beyond frustrating for the wives who know part of the truth but who are demanding the whole story.  Because they need for their husbands to just be honest, to have some integrity, and to just tell the complete truth.

I recently heard from a wife who said, in part: “my husband admitted to cheating with a coworker, but I have recently learned that it was much more than cheating.  It was an affair.  The other woman and I have spoken at length about this and they were cheating for about four months.  And, according to her, my husband seemed to be pretty serious about her and about their relationship.  Not only that, but I’ve found hotel receipts and cell phone records which indicate that this was an ongoing thing. And yet, when I try to talk to my husband about the affair, he insists that it was only a short term fling, that it didn’t mean anything, and that I just need to let it go and move on.  Frankly, I can’t and won’t do any of these things until he starts being honest with me.  Why can’t he just be honest?  Is there anything that I can do to make him tell me the whole truth?”  I will try to address these concerns in the following article.

There Are Many Reasons That Husbands Aren’t Honest About The Affair.  Here’s A Few: As maddening as this situation is, it really isn’t all that uncommon.   Men are often either dishonest or elusive about their affair because they know that if they tell you the whole truth, then you are going to be more angry, will have more questions, and will experience more pain.

I would say that the biggest reasons that men who visit my blog give me for being elusive or dishonest about the affair is that they know if you have all of the facts, you are going to have even more questions to which you are going to demand more answers.   They know that what they have to tell you is only going to make you angry and, frankly, is going to make things worse and delay you’re getting over this and moving on.

What they don’t realize though is that most women aren’t just going to give up on their need for the truth.  The husband’s refusing to be honest only makes you want to know that much more.   Often, their refusal to just show some truthfulness and integrity is what actually makes their situation worse – not their silence.  Because many wives will assume the worst anyway.

Another reasons that men are often dishonest is because they are simply ashamed.  Now that they are caught, they often play back the series of events in their minds and they’re often are quite embarrassed and ashamed at how they have acted.  So, they want to move past this embarrassment and push it down as much as they possibly can.  But, if they share this information with you, they suspect that you are going to keep bringing it up, are going to keep demanding answers, and these two things mean that they’ll have to deal with their embarrassment and shame for much longer.

Finally, sometimes they think that their dishonesty is actually protecting you.  Sometimes, they worry about what will happen if you know about or try to confront the other woman.  Or they know that your digging deeper is going to cause you more pain. So they figure if they can force you into just stopping with all of the questions, your healing and your escape from pain will happen more quickly.

Is There Any Way To Make Your Husband Be Honest About His Affair?: Well, as I see it, there are a few options here.   You can either try to collect and confront him with proof (which obviously can cause more conflict.) Or, you can try to convince him that it’s in his own best interest to tell you the truth (and is also the right thing to do.) Another option is to insist that you can and will obtain information on your own whether he likes it or not .

So which strategy do I think is better?  Well, that depends on how you want to proceed with your marriage.  If you think there’s a possibility of saving your marriage, then you are much better off trying to get his cooperation.  If you are going to end your marriage anyway, then there’s really no need to continue to dialog with him when you likely don’t trust his response anyway.

But if you think that somewhere down the line your marriage might just stand a sliver of a chance, then it’s best to try to convince him that he really does want and need to show some honestly and he wants to demonstrate his integrity.

How To Convince Your Husband That He Should Tell You The Truth About His Affair: Although I know that it’s very tempting to have a very strong reaction and to demand answers in a very forceful or threatening way, doing so often won’t get you the answers that you want.  So, as challenging as it may be, it’s often to your benefit to convince him that he really does want to work with you.  So, I suggested that the next time this husband began making his denials that that the wife knew just aren’t true, she might consider saying something like: “listen, we both know that you’re not being completely honest right now.  It’s obvious that you’re either reluctant, scared, or unwilling to tell me the truth.  The thing is, I’m very determined to find out the entire truth.  I am going to get answers, but I would much rather get them from you.  I would much rather hear difficult things from you than from a stranger or from digging on my own.  I know that what you tell me might be difficult for me to hear or might even temporarily make things worse.  But I can not stress enough that I need to hear it anyway.  And I need to hear it from you. In order for me to start to heal, I need to know that you cared enough to be completely honest with me.  Are you willing to do that?”

This approach doesn’t always get the exact result that you want immediately or at first.  But if you keep at it with a calm attitude and focused determination, many men will realize that there just isn’t another way – especially if they too want to save the marriage.

It took a while before my husband decided that he needed to tell me the complete truth. Eventually, I was able to convince him that this was something that had to happen in order for me to heal.  And I did eventually heal so well that our marriage survived and is in fact better than it ever was.  If it helps, you can read more of that story on my blog at

Why Does My Husband Continue To Lie When The Affair Is Already Out? I Already Know About It

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are completely perplexed as to why their spouse would continue to try to deny aspects of his affair when, for the most part, the truth is already in the open. Often, the faithful spouse doesn’t understand the need to keep lying when the farce is essentially up.

I might hear a comment like: “I caught my husband in an affair. I found his texts to one of his coworkers and I called the other woman. She had plenty to tell me and she confirmed the affair and even gave me some details. I confronted my husband and the look on his face was confirmation enough. After I repeatedly demanded more information, he confirmed that their relationship was inappropriate and sexual, but he is stopping short of calling it a full blown affair. That’s certainly not the impression that the other woman gave me. After I talked to my husband, I called the other woman back to get even more details. And every time I confront my husband about these details, there’s usually at least some of them that he continues to try to lie about or deny. I just do not understand this. Why would he need to continue to lie when I already know there was an affair and I can go to the other woman to get more details if I need to? is this man just incapable of telling me the truth?”

I obviously can’t answer this question from personal experience because I’m not a man who has cheated. I am a wife who have been cheated on. And I do hear from a lot of cheating husbands on my blog. So I have a definite theory on why a man would continue to lie about an affair when some of the truth has already come out. I will give more details about this below.

Sometimes, He Continues To Lie Because He Doesn’t Want To Face The Truth: It’s just human nature to try to minimize grief and pain, especially when you are the one responsible for it. If your husband still cares for you, then he’s going to know that the details of the affair are going to hurt you and cause you pain. So in his own mind, he may be lying (or at least omitting some details) in order to spare you some pain. Also, there is a chance that he could be in denial. Often, the idea of having to own up to his actions are overwhelming to him, so he may have some motivation to continue to deny or lessen the blow until that just isn’t possible anymore.

Sometimes, Lying Has Become An Addicting Habit: When people cheat on their spouses, they have to almost make lying common place, at least where the affair is concerned. It’s almost as if they build up an alternate reality in order to function in both worlds. And this becomes a habit that can be hard to shake. So, he may not be consciously lying just for the practice of it.  He’s just acting out of habit. He may not even realize that he is doing it because it has become a habit that he is going to have to very consciously try to break.

Sometimes, He Needs To Realize That The Lying Will Have To Stop If He Wants To Move Forward: Some men lie because they figure they will attempt to see just what you are going to accept from them or allow them to get away with. So, sometimes it is in your best interest to set the boundaries early on so that he knows he needs to become friends with the truth immediately.

A suggested script might be something like: “I hear what you are saying, but I have to tell you that I already have information that is contrary to this. The other woman has given me information that indicates exactly the opposite of what you are saying. I have to tell you that in order to heal and determine what I want moving forward, I am going to need the truth. If you refuse to give that to me, then I don’t see how our marriage has a chance. I won’t continue to be lied to. That is not acceptable to me. If you need time to think about this, that’s fine. But the next time we talk about this, I am going to expect nothing but the truth from you. And if I suspect that you aren’t telling me the truth, then I am going to work tirelessly to make sure that I have completely accurate information. And if I don’t feel as if I am getting it from you, then I’m going to have no choice but to look elsewhere. You can save us a lot of time, delay, and aggravation by just telling me the truth. I believe that I deserve that. And if our marriage is important to you, I’d hope that you respect me enough to look me in the eye and tell me the truth.”

I’d love to tell you that this speech is going to make your husband fall all over himself to tell you the absolute truth, but I can’t promise that. However, what I can tell you is that at least you will have made it clear about what you expect. And if he continues to lie, then at least you will have made that clear before you determine how to proceed.  Sometimes, once he truly believes that you are not going to allow him to continue to lie, he will have no choice but to tell the truth.

I’m sure my husband tried to posture in a similar way after his affair.  But I was very clear early on that this was not going to be acceptable.  If it helps, you can read more on my blog at

Why Did He Leave The Other Woman After I Found Out About The Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: If you are a wife who is dealing with a cheating husband or an affair, I can reasonably guess that you’ve spent a lot of time lately trying to figure out what your husband is thinking and what has motivated his actions. This can be true even when the affair is over. If your husband abruptly declares the affair over and leaves any and all shreds of a relationship with the other woman, you can certainly ask yourself why.

Is it because he is caught? Is it because he has chosen you and wants to save your marriage? Is it because that the discovery of the affair has made it less exciting? Is it because the other woman broke it off? If you have never been through this yourself, all of these questions might sound a bit silly to you. But if your husband has had an affair, I’d suspect you’ve asked yourself at least one of these questions and maybe many of them. I know that I did.

One of the questions that I get asked a lot is why the husband abruptly breaks off the affair as soon as the wife finds out. Someone might say: “after doing a little digging about my husband’s affair, I was horrified to learn that it had been going on for almost nine months. The first couple of months were really just flirtation. It didn’t seem to be too serious then. But at around month three, the other woman started to demand more of commitment. She started to want my husband to tell her that he would one day leave me once our kids could handle it. From looking at the texts and emails, it is obvious even to me that my husband was reluctant to do this. But she kept pushing. And finally he relented. At around month six, my husband actually tried to break things off with the affair. He never mentioned me. But he told her that he did not want to break up his family because of the kids. That’s better than nothing, I guess. But the other woman would not let it go. She intensified her campaign to get his undivided attention. That worked for a while, but from the tone of the communication, it does appear that for the last couple of months, my husband was not as enthusiastic as he once was. Still, he kept right on going with the affair. He kept right on lying to me. Until I caught him. I can literally look at the communications and I can see that on the day I confronted him, he literally immediately cut it off. And although she’s tried to goad him into communication, he has ignored her. I am glad of this, but I do not quite understand it. And I don’t quite get why he would hold on to the affair for all of this time and then drop her the second that I found out. Because he still had the kids and myself to think about for all of those months. And not just on the day that I caught him.”

I get your confusion. But, at least the way that I see it, when a man is caught in his cheating, all of a sudden, many unpleasant realities become impossible to ignore. Suddenly, he realizes that he is not going to get away with this. He realizes that he won’t be able to fix this issue on his own and have it just go away without your finding out. (Because this is what many men hope – that one day they will end the affair and no one will be hurt because no one will find out.) He also realizes that despite his hopes, you are VERY hurt by the affair and very affected. In short, he realizes that his plan didn’t work and now he is going to have to pay some very dear consequences for his actions.

And suddenly, what is truly important becomes 100% apparent. Yes, he’s been flirting with this separation from the other woman all along. He’s been trying to back out of the affair. But now a real sense of urgency emerges because now he is on the verge of loosing everything. And he has the very abrupt and dramatic revelation that none of this is worth it. The affair isn’t worth the risk to those people he truly cares about. And finally he can say that he doesn’t care what tactics the other woman uses. Because he is really and truly done. There is no going back because now you know and you are going to hold him accountable if he continues on with the relationship.

In short, he has had to choose between the hope of saving his marriage and keeping his family or the affair. And he has chosen you. Of course, you also have a choice. His choosing you doesn’t mean that you have to choose him. You can weigh your own options as you watch his behavior, get more information, and gauge your own feelings.

But I hope that I have answered the question. Much of the time, the husband drops the affair and the other woman abruptly because he sees the writing on the wall and he sees his choice. And there is no need to delay. He knows that his choice is his family.

My husband chose his family also.  I wish I could tell you that things magically fell into place.  They didn’t.  We had to fight for our marriage.  But in the end, we recovered.  And we are still a family now.  I have never regretted that decision. You can read more on my blog at

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