When Is It Time To Tell My Husband To End His Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who are trying to determine how to get their husband to end his affair. Sometimes, the husband is very well aware of the fact the wife knows about the affair (as well as how she feels about it.)  Other times, the wife has not yet confronted the husband about his affair and she isn’t sure how to approach this. Some wives will wait and hope that the affair fizzles out so that she never has to disclose what she knows. These wives would rather take a wait and see approach than to put everything out in the open and deal with the nasty fall out that might come next. But usually what causes many wives to take definitive action is the desperate need for the affair to be over. It is hard enough to know that your husband is having an affair. But to sit by and watch him not ending it is something else entirely.

I recently heard from a wife who said: “my husband knows that I suspect he is having an affair. I have confronted him about it many times but he lies about it. I did a little checking and I know how long the affair has lasted and who the other woman is. I know when he goes out with her and what they are doing. I have waited and hoped that he would realize how stupid he is being and would end the affair on his own. But it has been several weeks now and this has not happened. So when should I tell him that I know about the affair and that it is time for him to end it? How do most wives approach this? Do most tell him that he must end his affair or else? Or do most just wait to see what is going to happen?”

I will try to answer these questions as best as I can, but keep in mind that wives are as different as the marriages that they are within. Different people will have different responses. But in my experience, very few wives sit by idly waiting for their husband to just end his affair when he feels like it. Instead, they will take some sort of action.

The Choices That You Have To Make In Terms Of Ending Your Husband’s Affair: At the very least, most will tell him that they know about the affair, don’t want to tolerate it, and want him to end it. Sometimes, the husbands is the situation will be very apologetic and will immediately break off the affair as the first step toward saving their marriage. Other husbands are not so decisive. Many will tell their wives that they have strong feelings for the other woman. They will say that they need time to decide who or what they want. And it is at this point that the wife will have a decision to make. She must decide if she’s going to take a stand and demand that the affair end (and set up the corresponding consequences if it does not) Or, she can chose to remove herself from the situation until he can come to a decision.

I can’t tell you which tactic to take or if it’s better for you to tell him that the affair has to end. I can tell you that many men do not take such ultimatums well. And even the ones who do begrudgingly end the affair sometimes find a way to blame their wives for the same so that the wife is almost painted as the bad guy in the situation. I get a lot of correspondence about this on my blog from both husbands and wives and I have to tell you that the outcome is usually better if the husband makes up his own mind to end the affair. It is better if he is able to do this because he knows that it is the right thing to and that, at the end of the day, he has made a mistake. Ultimately, he wants to make it clear that the thing which is most important to him is his marriage and his family. Because when a man comes to this decision on his own, he is free of resentment and it’s more likely that the decision is going to actually stick. This in turn means that your marriage is more likely to survive.

The Fear Or Confronting Your Husband Or Of Making Demands: This is only my opinion based on my own experience and from the people that I hear from on my blog, but I think that it is very difficult to sit by while you know that your husband is having an affair without letting him know what you know. Many wives are afraid of a confrontation, but living in the dark this way can be every bit as unhealthy as shining a light on the affair so that healing and a resolution can begin. As for whether or not to demand that the affair ends, it’s not my place to tell you what to do. I think it’s fine to make it clear that you can’t participate in a marriage with another woman in it. You can always tell him that when he makes a decision about ending the affair, then you can discuss what happens with your marriage or moving on. To me, this is preferable to giving strongly worded “all or nothing ultimatums that generally don’t work that well. Plus, once you’ve made it clear that things are not going to remain the same in your marriage while he continues on with the affair, this will usually give him the incentive to go ahead and freely make his choice. But forcing him into a choice will often paint you as the aggressor or the bad guy when you are anything but.

I didn’t give my husband an ultimatum after his affair, but I made it clear that if he wanted to continue to be married to me, there were several things that were going to need to happen – one of which was his completely faithfulness.  I believe that him coming to his decisions on his own contributed to us being able to save our marriage after the affair.  It it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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