What Things Can I Do To Make My Husband Feel Bad About Cheating?

By: Katie Lersch: It’s not unusual for me to hear from wives who are dealing with indignant husbands who seem to have no bad feelings about their cheating or affair. There is seemingly no sorrow, no remorse, and no guilt.

I might hear from a wife who says: “my husband only feels bad that he got caught cheating. But he doesn’t feel bad about the cheating itself. He has tried every excuse imaginable with me – I wasn’t paying him enough attention, the other woman meant nothing to him, half of all men cheat, etc.” When I try to tell him how deeply his behavior has hurt me, he only gets mad at me and refuses to discuss it any further. One of my coworkers went through infidelity with her husband and she almost divorced him because she felt so horrible about it. I want my husband to feel bad about his behavior. I want for him to be ashamed. But it is almost like he is proud that he was able to cheat with a younger girl. He makes me sick. What can I do to make him feel bad about this? Because that is what he deserves.”

I have an opinion for you that I can share. My opinion is based on my own experience and what I have seen work and not work for others. But I have to warn you that my answer may not be what you want to hear because it is going to seem counterintuitive. I hope that you will hear me out though. Because a lot of what might be your first inclination is going to be the opposite of what actually works. Please allow me to explain.

Many wives’ first attempt at making him feel bad will be to make him feel ashamed.  You want to point out all of the shameful behavior he exhibited.  I did this myself. You want to show him the destruction in the wake of his actions. You want for him to know that you hurt. You want him to take one look at you and feel physical and aching pain. So, you take every opportunity to show him your pain and tell him exactly what he has done.

And, you have every right to this. No one can blame you for it and every one understands it. Unfortunately, it is not very effective. In fact, trying to bring on the guilt actually makes it easier for him to justify his behavior. Why? Because he will tell himself that he just isn’t comfortable around you. He will know that he always feels negative emotions around you (even if he deserves that right now) and, as a result, he needed an escape.

Or, some men take it even further than this and will think things like: “no wonder I had to go out and cheat on her. She’s a miserable human being and she’s always looking to take me down with her. I don’t get a moment’s peace around her. It’s as if she doesn’t want me to feel happy for even a moment. Only a saint could be expected to live this way all of the time. No wonder I had to go elsewhere.”

I know that this is hurtful and unfair. But I want you to be aware of it. Because I want you to know what doesn’t work and why. Which leads me to the fact that often the opposite strategy does work. What I have found to work is probably the last thing you feel like doing – you hold your head up high, you know deep in your heart that the only person who can make you happy is yourself, and you invest in the most important person in your life – which is you.”

Not only is the right thing to do, but it is effective. Your husband is more likely to feel guilt in this situation because here is a woman who has done nothing wrong who is conducting herself with dignity and respect. What kind of man cheats on or hurts such a woman? What kind of person betrays a spouse who does nothing wrong and is above reproach?

Now, I’m not asking you to overcompensate or treat him with accommodations that he doesn’t deserve.  You don’t have to pretend that everything is fine. He knows that everything isn’t fine. He knows that he has hurt you. And, you don’t have to drive the point home because deep down, he knows it. Frankly, he probably does feel more badly than you assume. But he is posturing and doesn’t want to show it.

That’s why it’s best that you don’t give any additional justification. Go about your business with integrity and he will realize that he has made a grave mistake, if he doesn’t already. I know that you may feel that this is letting him off easy, but I feel strongly that it is just the opposite. Your restraint makes it harder for him to justify his actions. And you may not be able to see him wrestling with himself internally but he very likely is.

In the beginning of the aftermath after my husband’s affair, he wasn’t showing a lot of guilt and remorse.  But this came later, after he stopped the posturing and the indigence.  When it showed itself, it just all came pouring out.  This might be in your future also, especially if you don’t fall back on negative strategies that may only make him feel more justified.  You’re welcome to read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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