Sometimes I Feel As Though I Should Have Just Ignored My Husband’s Affair And Not Confronted Him

By: Katie Lersch: There’s no question that many wives hesitate about when, how, and if to confront their husband about a known affair. I think that, at least in part, this is because most people realize that once that line is crossed and the cat is out of the bag, there is no going back. Your marriage will never be the same – at least not exactly. You can’t go back to that place of ignorance or to the calm before the storm.

No, once you make that confrontation, you will have to deal with the lid being blown off of your marriage, at least for awhile. And suddenly, everything is under scrutiny, everything is in question, and unavoidable conflict is in your path.

That’s why some wives come to wish that they had never let the cat out of the bag. For example, someone might say: “honestly, on the day that I confronted my husband about his affair, I almost called it off. I think that this is because I knew in my heart that confronting him was going to seriously put our marriage in jeopardy, which is not what I wanted. Honestly, I am being very truthful when I say that my husband and I were actually very happy. The affair was actually just a fling he had with an ex-girlfriend who was leaving the country and probably isn’t ever coming back. In that sense, the affair was not a real threat to our marriage, although it did not feel like that at the time. However, once I confronted him, our good marriage didn’t feel so good anymore. We said awful things to one another. My husband started to question if we were compatible, and that easy rapport that we have always had with one another now seems to be gone. I honestly feel now that if I just had kept my mouth shut and not confronted him, we would be mostly happy right now and we would not be on the verge of divorce. I’m really mad at myself that I just did not turn and look the other way. Now I’m worried that there is no way to undo what has been done.”

The Impossibility Of “Unknowing.” I’m sorry you are going through this. And you are right that you can not turn back time. You can’t undo what has been done. At this point, it would be impossible to pretend that the affair – and the fall out from it – never happened. Plus, it’s somewhat easy to assume that if no confrontation would have happened, you would still be happy. But I don’t think that you have any way of knowing that. The truth is, your husband may have gone on with his life with the way that things were, but it is doubtful that you could. Because even without a confrontation, you can’t “unknow” about the affair. Once the knowledge is there, it is very hard to pretend that you just don’t know. And even if you don’t say anything about it, there’s a very good chance that it would have still eaten away at you and at your marriage. And unless your husband is just very nonobservant, he would likely have noticed that something was going on with you, even if he wasn’t sure what.

Moving Forward Instead Of Moving Back: So no, you can’t go back. But you can move forward. Yes, sometimes you do get stuck as you and your spouse struggle not to turn on each other in all of the conflict and shock. I remember thinking that in many ways, my own husband, who I’d known for half of my life, seemed like a stranger to me in the aftermath of the affair. I simply did not recognize him anymore and I could not envision a future where he would ever look the same to me again.

Therefore, we needed help to get over the hump. And it may turn out that yourself and your husband could benefit from some self help or counseling also. This isn’t always fun, but the good news about it is that, even though you can’t put the lid back on the jar, you can repair what has been broken. And frankly, as painful as the repair job can be, I think that this can better than just wishing that you had never learned the truth. Because if you never make the confrontation and you and your husband never work through it, then you can’t really fix things. You may always live with closet resentment. And that’s going to be difficult and affect your marriage also.

The truth is that once the knowledge of the affair seeps in, there is no way to un-ring the bell. That knowledge alone is going to change things – whether you confront him or not. At least by confronting him you have the chance to really see this through and to potentially fix those broken things (if you choose to go that route.) To me, this is better than sticking your head in the sand and pretending not to know, but everyone has to make that decision for themselves.

And now that the confrontation has happened, there is nothing to do but to make the best of the situation as it lies before you. If you and your husband need help rebuilding, there is no shame in that. The real shame would be in not finding a way to move past this – regardless of what happens in your marriage. Whether you choose to remain married or not, healing has to be the real goal. And healing isn’t possible unless you’re willing to shine a light on what is real. Sometimes, that light is painful and bright. But it allows the start of healing to take place.

There were times when I truly didn’t know if I wanted to heal because the process was so painful.  But now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Those days were hard, but they gave us the marriage that we have today. There’s more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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