Should I Pressure My Husband To End His Affair? Or Do I Just Be Patient?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who want for their husband to end his affair at once. But, they are often unsure if this is going to be what is most healthy for their marriage or most conducive to healing. There is often a real concern about appearing to be unyielding and nasty, especially when you’re trying to save your marriage. But at the same time, you want for him to stop the affair at once and you feel that you have the right to be forceful about the same.

Common comments or concerns are things like: “my husband admitted his affair on his own. He came to me and told me that he had been having a relationship with a coworker. He said that he had to clear his conscience and that he couldn’t lie to me because he loves me. He said that he doesn’t want a divorce or separation. But then he told me that he needed more time in order to end the affair. He said that the other woman’s situation is complicated and that he needs to sort out of his feelings. That isn’t good enough for me. I feel like telling him that he will end the affair or he will accept that I am going to divorce him. He can’t have both of us. I told my best friend that I was getting ready to pressure him or to give him an ultimatum to end the affair but my friend said that this might backfire on me. She asked me what happens if I give him this ultimatum and he tells me that since I am making him choose, then he is forced to choose the other woman. Or, what if gets so angry by my attitude that he decides that he doesn’t want to save our marriage after all? Is it a good idea to pressure him?”

This is a decision that each wife must make for herself. However, because of my own experience and because of some experiences that I hear about on my blog, I do have an opinion on this, which I will share with you below.

Know That Pressured Husbands Often Don’t Become Happy Or Willing Husbands: It’s not uncommon for this strategy to appear to work, at least initially. Often, when you let a husband know that he really doesn’t have a much of a choice but to end the affair or risk his marriage, his family, and his finances, he will often begrudgingly end the affair.

And the wife will sometimes think that this is the end of it. But what can eventually happen is that she will begin to notice that the husband is moody and resentful. He will mope around the house and, although he is physically there with you, he is not emotionally there with you. His mind and his heart are somewhere else. In short, it can become obvious that he is only there because you have forced his hand. He’s not there completely willingly and his behaviors, his affection, and his participation levels are going to reflect this.

I know that it’s tempting to decide that you don’t really care if he’s happy about this ultimatum or not. But you have to ask yourself what your end goal really is. Of course you want for the affair to be over immediately. Of course you want for him to be home so that his attention is on you. But you also probably want to give your marriage the best chance of full and total recovery. And this sometimes takes deep thought and strategy.

You Can Make It Clear That His Choice, Although His Own, Will Potentially Have Consequences: By no means am I suggesting that you just give your husband free reign to end the affair when or if he feels like it. That’s not fair or just either. I believe that the best approach to take here is to make it clear that your husband will not enjoy the benefits of being married to you as long as he is having an affair.

In other words, although you may not leave immediately, you obviously are not going to be intimate with him or emotionally invested with him if he is carrying on a relationship with someone else. You can make it clear that you will not begin the process of picking up the pieces of your marriage until you are sure that you are the only female in that relationship.

So a suggested response would be something like: “I know that you are saying that you need time. But I have to be honest and tell you that although I can’t force you to come to any decision in any certain time frame, I also can not actively participate in our marriage when you are seeing someone else. I am just not going to be able to concentrate on this relationship when I know that you are still putting it in jeopardy. So yes, I can’t force you to do anything. I can’t force a particular time frame on you. But at the same time, I can’t participate in our marriage or in saving it until you come to the decision to end the affair and to focus on us.”

I can’t promise you that this conversation is going to make him enthusiastically end the affair, but at least he will be clear on where you stand. And he will have an incentive to make a decision. Frankly, if he knows that you are there waiting patiently for him, then he really has no incentive to end the affair in a timely manner.

Honestly, I could not have focused on my marriage if I knew that my husband hadn’t ended the affair. I believe that I would have withheld any decision until I was sure that it was really over. Having that knowledge made it easier to save my marriage. If it helps, you can read about my recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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