When Do You Just Give Up When You Realize That You Can’t Get Over Your Husband’s Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who are on the verge of becoming convinced that there is nothing that can be done to move on from a husband’s affair. Usually, they have been trying to recover for months, or even years, and they feel that they have not been making an acceptable amount of progress. Many have tried to be patient, but they get to a point where they wonder if they need to just give up.

Here’s a typical scenario. Someone might explain something like this: “it has been one year and eight months since my husband’s affair. I find myself at a point where maybe I just need to admit that I am not going to be able to get over it. I really tried and so did my husband. In fact, there were some periods of time during this process where we actually seemed to be doing OK. But eventually, if I saw a woman look at my husband or my husband came home late from work, then the old suspicions and jealousies would start back up again and then things would sour from there. My husband is getting impatient with me and wondering why I can’t just give this up. I honestly do not know why. I wish that I could. But it just seems to follow me around like a bad smell. It seems a shame to walk away now, when we’ve put all this time in. If I had known that we’d still be struggling now, then I would have just given up from the get go. How long do you have to wait until you decide to just give up and admit that you can’t get over the affair?”

This is hard for me to say. In fact, no one can make this decision for anyone else. No one should even try. But I can certainly share my thought process with you – that has come out of my experience, which is somewhat similar. I admit that there were times when I thought that I was not making progress quickly enough. But I am glad that I stuck with it.

Determining If Your Healing Methods Are Effective: I think that if this much time has gone by and you’re still stuck, then you have to ask yourself if you’ve been using the most effective methods to heal. Have you been to counseling or gotten some self help based on expert advice? Honestly, I understand why people want to try to heal alone. But I have to tell you that unless you or your spouse are a mental health counselor, it’s likely that you just don’t have the knowledge or expertise to find your way alone. And even experienced counselors often won’t counsel themselves, because they just don’t have the objectivity to see things clearly. When you are so close to the situation, it is very hard to objectively see what is happening.

If you haven’t yet gotten counseling or educated yourself, I’d suggest attempting that before you give up. After all, you have already put in a lot of time and effort, what is a little more at this point? Especially when something may have the chance to work.

Ask Yourself Why You’re Still Hanging On: Please take this in the way it is intended. I only know that it’s possible because I did it myself. Sometimes, whether we realize it or not, we are hanging onto the affair because we are getting a pay off somehow. I suspected that this might be the case for me after a dear friend told me that I had seemed much more uptight and angry than usual (she did not know about the affair.) This might have been understandable – if it had not been months after the affair and my husband and I had not supposedly been on the road to recovery.

I knew that I rarely do things unless there is some payoff for me, so in my journal that night, I asked myself what could be the pay off for holding on. I decided that if I truly let go, I could no longer hold the affair over my husband’s head as “pay back.” I would no longer have the upper hand. (And who doesn’t want the upper hand?) Plus, if I truly let it go, I would have to be vulnerable and potentially hurt again, which of course, is scary.

I wasn’t naive enough to think that I could just decide to let go and then do so. But I vowed to try to catch myself when I got guarded or angry and then ask myself why I was feeling that way. As I did this, I decided to lean into the anger and try to allow myself to be vulnerable instead.

This worked quite well and was eventually one of the things that helped me turn the corner. I realized that, whether I was intentionally doing it or not, I was holding on because I didn’t want to relinquish power and I wanted the upper hand. But the trade off was that I felt frustrated and mean. It wasn’t a fair trade off, so I eventually let it go.

I’m not going to tell you that you can always move on. I know that there are wives who can’t. I’m not here to judge that because I think it’s perfectly valid and understandable. And I can’t make the call as when it’s time to give up. But I can gently say that you’ve stuck it out for quite a while, which might indicate that you’re still emotionally invested. So it makes sense to ask yourself if there are still things you haven’t yet tried or considered as outlined above.

I understand feeling stuck.  But you deserve better than just treading water.  Ask yourself if there is anything you haven’t tried or any place where you’re still holding on.  I know that sticking it out isn’t for everyone.  But I’m glad that I did.  In my case, it was the right call.  But every one has to make that decision for themselves.  You can read more about this my own healing process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Comments are closed.

  • RSS Infidelity Articles By Katie Lersch

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Posts