Why Does My Husband Find It So Hard To Show Me Affection After His Affair?

By Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who truly want to see if it’s possible to save their marriage after their spouse’s affair. However, quite understandably, they have a good deal of doubt as to whether or not this is going to be possible. One of their biggest concerns is whether their husband still loves them and is still attracted to them. And, a husband will usually claim that he is. But the wife isn’t about to just take his word for this. After all, the whole affair was a deception, so what is to stop him from lying now? In order to get reassurance from these doubts, the wife will often look for displays of affection and then will try to evaluate how it feels when she is receiving them. Unfortunately, the husband can sometimes have difficulty offering these displays of affection, which can feed right into the wife’s doubts.

I might hear a comment like: “I really want to make my marriage work after my husband’s affair. But I have all of these little voices in my head telling me that he doesn’t love me enough and that he doesn’t really want to be with me. I know that I am thinking negatively because I don’t want to be hurt again. I understand this. However, I look to my husband to help me overcome these fears. I need for him to physically take me in his arms and be affectionate to me. I have to admit that my husband’s never been comfortable with public displays of affection, but I need for him to step outside of his comfort zone and do this for me. I’ve tried telling him this and then he will very stiffly give me a hug when he has a pained look on his face. Part of me feels like it’s almost as if I’m asking him to do something distasteful. And this just worries me that much more. I want it to feel natural for him to love me. I want for him to want to touch, hug, and kiss me. I don’t want for this to be a chore for him. Why does my husband find it so hard to show me physical and loving affection after his affair?”

There are many reasons that you might be seeing this. I will discuss them below.

He May Be Afraid Of Rejection: Many wives worry that this means that their husband doesn’t find them physically attractive or  that he doesn’t really want to be with them. These concerns are understandable, but they don’t always have to be true. Sometimes, he does feel loving and physically affectionate toward you, but he also worries that perhaps because of his actions, he doesn’t really have this right. So even if he wants to be affectionate, he will subconsciously back away. He’s often scared that you were recoil at his touch.

If this is your reality, you can often address this by reaching out to him. I know that this doesn’t seem fair. But hopefully, once he sees that you actually welcome and want his affection, then he will be more likely to take the initiative once he accepts that you aren’t going to reject him.

He Feels Guilty And This May Lead Him To Worry That He’s Ruined Everything: Many couples know that the affair might severely challenge or even end their marriage. And they know that there is a lot is at stake when you attempt to by physical again. There’s a big fear that the spark is going to be gone. And, as a result, you’re going to realize that even though you’re really motivated to save your marriage, it just might not be possible. This puts a lot of pressure onto an already difficult situation.

And this can make your husband feel even more anxious and guilty than he already feels. When he attempts to show you affection and it doesn’t feel exactly as he hoped, he might recoil and feel a fresh dose of guilt and think that this is all his fault. Of course, now you have his doubts which are adding onto your doubts and that only feeds this unfortunate cycle.

One way around this is to make it clear to your husband that you are fully aware that things aren’t going to be perfect. It’s important that you both vow to move forward anyway. When you are trying to recover from an affair, you need to realize that things might feel awkward or forced. This is natural and understandable. It doesn’t mean that you don’t still love each other or that you will never get the spark back. It might just mean that it’s going to take a little more time and effort.

I hope this article has shown you that seeing your husband struggle with showing his affection might not mean that he doesn’t love you or that he doesn’t truly want to save your marriage. He likely is experiencing the same doubts and fears that you are experiencing. But, his may even be magnified a little bit because he knows that all of this is his fault. So he has guilt laid on top of everything else.

Sometimes, you just need to be patient, you need to keep communicating, and you need to keep plowing forward anyway. When you do this, things typically eventually get better. But if you quit trying or give up, then they can’t get better.

I have no problems admitting that we struggled with physical affection early on.  This was discouraging, but many people told us to stay the course and I’m glad that we did.  If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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