By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from women who are just beginning to deal with the aftermath of a husband’s affair. They are often trying to formulate the most appropriate questions that are going to help them determine why their husband cheated, what is the state of their marriage today, and what are the chances that he will cheat again. But many women really don’t know which questions are most likely to get them the answers that they are really looking for.
I recently heard from a wife who said in part: “I found out two weeks ago that my husband had a five week affair. He claims that it is over. And since he is with me during all hours when he is not working, I tend to believe that he isn’t seeing her anymore. But what is less clear is why he did this, what this means for our marriage, and how he really feels about me. I am constantly worrying about how our marriage is going to recover to the point where I can trust him again. In order for me to answer all of these questions, I feel like I need free reign in asking him what I need to know. But when I try to ask him even basic questions, he seems to lose his patience. It’s become clear to me that I have to limit my questions to those things I really want and need to know. So which things are most important for me to ask, especially right now?”
I will try to address this in the following article. But keep in mind that every one is an individual. You may have some questions that feel very important to you to which you need immediate answers. Know that this is valid. It’s not for me to say what should be important to you. However, with that said, there are some questions that seem to be universally important. I will suggest them below.
Can You Pinpoint What Things May Have Lead To The Affair?: This question is very important because you will often find that when you are trying to recover from the affair, restoring the trust is a huge issue. You may well spend a lot of time and emotional energy worrying that he is going to cheat again and, as the result, you will have to go through this whole painful thing all over again.
That’s why it’s very important to understand (at least as best as you can) what may have contributed to his behavior. For example, if he felt like you didn’t care enough to really understand or pay attention to him, then you may hear alarm bells in the future if he exhibits behavior that indicates he’s feeling isolated or misunderstood. Or, if you come to believe that he cheated because he could not resist temptation (despite his love for you) then you’ll want to be extra careful to ensure that he’s not in this type of tempting situation in the future.
How Did You Carry Out Your Cheating?: Your husband may be very reluctant to answer this question. But what you are trying to get at here is what methods he used to deceive you. Did he have a secret email account? Did he have a dummy cell phone only for the other woman’s use? Did he have his fiends lie to you? Did he tell you he was engaging in a fake hobby like working out while he was seeing the other person? You need to know this because if he were to cheat again, this information would help to tell you that something is going on much earlier in the process. In short, you need to know what patterns and behaviors to look for. More than that, the absence of the same can give you confidence that he is being faithful in the future as you rebuild.
What Do You Want To Happen With Our Marriage? Are You Really Committed To Me? This question is important because it will tell you if your marriage is worth fighting for. Also, if he is fully committed to you and the marriage, he is going to be much more willing to do whatever he needs to do to be fully rehabilitated so that your marriage not only survives, it thrives. I believe that you can save your marriage when your husband has questions or doubts about your marriage, but it is much more difficult, although certainly not impossible.
What Are You Going To Do To Rehabilitate Our Marriage And Restore My Trust? I actually think that his is the most important question of all. The biggest problem that I see for many couples after the affair is that they are both waiting for the other person to take charge. And, when this doesn’t happen, they sort of flounder along and wonder why things aren’t getting better. Then they start to wonder if things aren’t getting better because their marriage is doomed, or the affair damaged it too much, or their spouse doesn’t care enough to take the initiative. That’s why I strongly suggest that you ask your spouse to outline his plan. If he doesn’t have one, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you. But it doesn’t negate the fact that having a plan will make your recovery easier. So if he hasn’t defined a plan, ask him if you can work together to decide what you both need and want in order to move forward. As awkward as this conversation can be, it is so much better than floundering.
How Do You Feel About Me Today? How Do You Envision Yourself Feeling About Me In Six Months? The question that most wives will ask is “do you still love me after your affair?” Many husbands still do. But this really is a loaded question. Because when the husband says that yes, he loves her, the wife will immediately respond with something like: “well, if you love me so much, then why did you cheat on me?” It’s actually better to ask him how feels about you on this day. Because this day is what matters the most. Obviously, days in the recent past were not the best for either of you, so let’s focus on today. Let’s see how he feels right now. And, if he isn’t sure about that answer, then ask him what he might envision feeling six months from now. Because after an affair, the future can be more important than today. People rarely have the best of times in the aftermath of an affair. But that’s doesn’t mean that there aren’t better days ahead.
I have to admit that I bombarded my husband with questions after his affair. And he quickly lost patience. Eventually I learned how to ask the right questions at the right time and this made quite a difference in our ability to save our marriage. If it helps you can read that very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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