Why Do Men Isolate Themselves When They Are Involved In Infidelity?

By: Katie Lersch:  Wives who recount a husband who is unfaithful will often notice that he pulled away either before the infidelity happened, as it was happening, or after it was over.  Many wives don’t completely understand why he would want to isolate himself in this way, especially when it makes the whole situation a little more obvious.

Someone may ask a question like this one:  “frankly, one of the reasons that I knew my husband was cheating is because he stopped attending almost all family outings.  He stopped wanting to go to church as a family.  He stopped our Sunday and Friday night dinners.  He stopped attending movie night.  He was no longer confiding in me. He stopped investing time in my children.  So I knew that there was some major reason that he was pulling away.  When I found out that he had been cheating, I was not even that surprised.  But what does surprise me is that now that the affair is over, he is still pulling away.  He says he wants this marriage and this family.  He promises me that these claims are true. But he sure is not participating in any of it.  He still doesn’t interact with us.  He still mostly keeps to himself.  I tell him that in order to heal, we need to spend time together and pull toward each other.  He doesn’t even really respond to this.  Why do men isolate themselves during infidelity?  And why do they continue to do it even when the infidelity is over?”

I am certainly no expert, but from my own experience and observations, men isolate themselves before and during infidelity for different reasons than they isolate themselves afterwards.

Why Men Isolate Themselves Before The Affair:  In the time period before the affair, men may be struggling with an issue in their lives and they are not reaching out to their spouse for help.  This isn’t their spouse’s fault.  Because they sometimes never even gave their spouse a chance to help matters.  But they isolate themselves because they are struggling.  As a result, they feel increasingly alone and vulnerable.

This vulnerability is often the precursor to the affair.  They end up reaching out to someone else for relief instead of their spouse.  Perhaps they don’t want to burden their spouse with their issue or they are embarrassed and afraid that they spouse will think less of them if they share their vulnerability.

During The Affair: Once the affair happens, men isolate themselves because they don’t want to raise suspicion.  They don’t want for you to look closely because that increases the risk of detection.  Also, he likely feels very guilty and ashamed.  Seeing you and spending time with you only increases this guilt.  So it makes it easier on him if he can spend less time with you and more time with himself.

Isolation Once Detection Has Taken Place: Once the affair is found out, the isolation is because he’s likely embarrassed and trying to minimize the fall out.  He simply doesn’t want to face you.  And he may feel as if he doesn’t deserve to be around you.  He doesn’t know what to say or do so he figures that it’s best to just keep to himself and let you tell him when you’re ready to communicate or to move forward.  It doesn’t seem fair that he wants you to come to him, does it?  But he’s likely afraid of your reaction so he figures it’s best to steer clear of you right now.

So how do you get him out of his isolation?  Well, you have a couple of options.  Going to counseling together is a fast way to get him to open up.  It may feel better to him if someone other than you is asking the questions.

If you are not in counseling, you can attempt to communicate that his current level of isolation isn’t agreeable to you.  An example is something like: “I can’t help but notice that more and more, you are isolating yourself from me and the family.  I get that you might not be sure how much I want you around right now because I’m angry and hurt.  But I don’t think avoiding each other is doing us any good.  We’re going to need to communicate eventually.  And when you isolate yourself, it just makes things more awkward and cold between us.  Nothing is going to be gained by not talking or interacting.  I don’t expect for us to have a high degree of intimacy immediately.  That isn’t realistic.  But I do expect for us to have access to one another and to be able to talk openly.  Maybe we can do this on our own or maybe we need counseling to help us, but I don’t think that it’s in our best interest for either of us to just draw into ourselves. Do you agree?”

In the days to come, you may have to remind him about this.  When you notice him become isolated, you may have to call him out and ask him to join you.  In other words, you may have to constantly ask him not to isolate himself.  But once he finds that there truly is no place to hide, he will likely stop trying.  In truth, there is no escaping dealing with the affair.  He may be trying to hide, but the issues will likely keep coming on until you deal with them.  He may not realize this initially, but it usually becomes apparent soon enough.

I admit that both my husband and I isolated ourselves after the detection of his affair.  I had no desire to be around him and he was scared to be around me.  This phase ended relatively quickly because of our children.  But that doesn’t mean there was smooth sailing ahead.  Not by a long shot.  We had a tough period that we had to get through.  But we eventually found some help in getting there.  You can read more more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Comments are closed.

  • RSS Infidelity Articles By Katie Lersch

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Posts