What Should I Do If My Spouse Says He’s Not Ready To Listen To Me After My Infidelity?

By: Katie Lersch:  Sometimes, when you have cheated on your spouse and you deeply regret it, the one thing you want more than anything is a chance to both explain yourself and to tell your spouse how you really feel.  You want your spouse to know that you love them and that you are willing to do whatever you have to do in order to have one more chance.  But, your spouse isn’t always willing to listen to what you have to say – especially in the beginning.  This can be very confusing because you can feel that getting your message across is hugely important, but you also want to respect your spouse’s wishes – especially now.

A cheating spouse might explain: “I know that the conversation about my infidelity is going to be a difficult one.  But I want to have that conversation as soon as possible.  I have no intentions of making excuses for myself because there are no excuses. But I would like to tell my husband that I plan to be the best wife moving forward.  I’d like to tell him that I am already in counseling and would be more than willing to go with him if he wants me to.  I want to tell him that for the past week, I have been sick with worry that I’ve ruined everything.  I want to tell him that I’ve been almost overcome with dreams and images of us early in our marriage when we were so in love.  I want to tell him that I want that back.  But every time I even try to talk about this, my spouse tells me that he is just not ready to listen to me in this regard.  I understand that. I really do.  But I feel that him hearing these things might influence the decisions that he is making right now.  I think it’s important for him to know how much I love him and how sorry I am.  Yet, I don’t want to force anything on him.  What should you do when he’s not ready to talk yet?”

As a spouse who has been where your husband is right now, I can tell you that I think that you should respect your spouse’s wishes.  I would not have appreciated it at all if my husband had forced any conversation on me or had continued to talk and explain when I asked him not to.  I would see this as disrespectful and not being aware (or caring enough about) my needs.

With that said, I don’t think that you want to just retreat either.  Your spouse wants to see that you are focused and intent on making this right.  So, you don’t want to make it appear that you are going to give up easily.  I can only speak for myself.  But after my husband’s affair, I wanted him to leave me alone when I asked him to, but I also wanted to see that he loved me enough not to be so easily discouraged.  I wanted him to give me time, but I also I wanted to know that I was worth it to him to stay the course for me.

I know that I am asking you to walk a very fine line here.  But I think it’s possible to find a compromise.   You could ask yourself what is most important to you in terms of what you want your spouse to know right now – and immediately.  I think that you want to stress that you are sorry, that you still love your spouse, that you are thinking of them, and that in time you hope that you are given a chance to fix this.

All of these things can be said in a letter or card.  That way, you have respected your spouse’s wishes.  And they can read the card whenever they think that they are ready to hear the message.  You’re still being respectful and have done as they have asked.  And you’re allowing them to set the time frame where they’re ready to hear your message.

So, I’d consider saying what I needed to say in heartfelt, but respectful letter.  This may be a relief for you because you can finally release those feelings.  Then, at a time when both you and your spouse are as calm as you can be at a time like this, you might say: “I know that you said you aren’t ready to listen to me and I respect that.  But I’ve written down a couple of things.  When you feel ready, maybe you can read this letter.  It may not change anything, but there are things that I want you to know.  One day, I’d like to talk about this face to face.  But no pressure.  I will let you set the pace.  I don’t want to do anything to rush or pressure you.  My primary concern is your well being.  And I would never want to make things worse by moving too quickly.  But I hope that you will read the letter when you’re ready.  And I hope that you know that I am here and waiting anytime you want to talk.”

This should allow both of you to get at least most of what you want – you will know that when he’s ready, he will receive your message.  And he will know that you’ve respected his request.  And it’s important that you allow him to set the pace.  I wanted to know that my husband was ready to move when I wanted him to.  But there were times when I just didn’t want to be confronted with the infidelity topic right then because things seemed very overwhelming.  Sometimes, the faithful spouse just needs some time.  It’s important to respect that.  You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com


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