Why Did My Husband Continue On With The Affair If He Didn’t Want It?

By: Katie Lersch:  When a husband is caught cheating, he will often try to minimize the affair.  He will try to tell you that the affair didn’t mean much to him.  Or he will say that he was actively ending it. Most wives don’t believe these excuses.  However, some wives do a little digging and they find out that these claims were in fact true.  These leaves the wives confused.  They just can not understand how a man who didn’t appear to be “that into it” carried out and continued on with the affair.  For example, someone might say, “when I caught my husband cheating, he told me that the affair was essentially over – at least emotionally.  He told me that he had been trying to break it off for quite some time, but the other woman kept trying to get him to stay in the relationship.  I did not believe this.  I thought he was just telling me this so that the affair wouldn’t seem so bad.  However, I went digging through my husband’s computer and I did find emails between them that backs up my husband’s story.  As early as a couple of months ago, he started telling her that he did not want to continue.  He told her that the affair was wrong and that he couldn’t do this to his family.  She kept emailing him, even though he ignored her for much of the time.  I could tell from the emails that they would get together every once in a while.  But it clearly was not the hot and heavy relationship that it started out as.  And my husband was clearly trying to get away from it.  But it appears that he kind of allowed it to lag on and to continue, even though it wasn’t the same.   I do not understand why.  It seems pretty obvious from the emails that my husband had reached a point where he was no longer invested.  So why would he just drag it out like that and continue to cheat on me?”

I admit that I am not a man.  I am a woman who has dealt with infidelity and because of my articles, people do sometimes reach out to me.  I believe that I have a fairly good handle on people’s motivations in this situation.  Below, I’ll offer some reasons that a man might continue on with an affair that is just no longer working.

He’s Afraid Of The Other Woman’s Reaction:  In my observation, the most common reason that a man has trouble breaking off the affair once and for all is that the other woman tries very hard not to allow it.  Sometimes, she will try everything in her power to keep the affair going.  Because of this, many husbands are afraid that she is going to tell the wife or go to see the wife face-to-face.  So he would rather go through the motions in a dead relationship than to risk his wife finding out, or worse, having this woman come to his home and make a very unfortunate announcement about the affair.  In his mind, he’s trying to protect his wife or his family until he can figure out how to end it.  Many husbands hope that his indifference and lack of participation will mean that the other woman will cut it off herself eventually.

He’s Struggling With The Same Personal Issues That Caused The Affair In The First Place: I know that I may take a lot of flack for this next comment.  But I think that even men who have affairs might eventually (and in hindsight) agree that they weren’t at their best when having an affair.  The cheating usually comes at a time when a man is very vulnerable, indecisive, and impulsive.   So, he’s usually not in the best frame of mind for making firm decisions and for making those same decisions clear.  That’s why he may be an easy target for a woman who just doesn’t want to let the relationship go.  Sure, his heart may not be in it, but he figures as long as no one knows and no one is getting hurt, what is the harm in just not rocking the boat?

Of course, that is until you find out about the affair and you ARE getting hurt.  This is usually the wake up call that forces him to take very decisive and swift action.  I know that you wish that action had come sooner and that he would have ended the affair the second he knew that it was wrong, but I think that it does mean at least something that he tried.  I hear from so many wives who have husbands that, even when caught and confronted, don’t want to break off the affair.  The fact that your husband not only told the other woman that the affair was wrong, but also tried to end it, is a good sign.

By no means does it excuse the affair, but it does show you where his heart was and that you’re not dealing with a husband who is still invested in another relationship.

And you get to decide if this is enough to at least hear him out or to take the time to decide what you really want before throwing your marriage away.  There is no right or wrong answer.  You just have to decide which decision is the best one for you.  I ultimately decided to give my husband another chance.  This was for my kids at first, but eventually, it was because it was what I truly wanted.  It was the right decision for me, but everyone has to make this decision for themselves. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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