By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from wives who just do not understand how their husband could be so callous as to leave her and her children to pursue the other woman in an affair. Often, she tries to ask her husband open ended questions in an attempt to understand how he could possibly do something like this. But no matter how he answers and no matter how hard she tries to understand, she just can not.
I might hear a comment like: “I am so disappointed in my husband. We have been married for eight years. We have two children under the age of five. Seven months ago, my husband began an affair with a coworker. When I found out about it, he not only promised to end the affair, but he quit his job so that I wouldn’t have to worry. I was so relieved. But this only lasted for a short time. A couple of months later, my husband started acting weird again. He finally admitted that he had started up the affair again. This time, when I asked to end it, he refused. A couple of weeks after that, he said that he was leaving me because he was in love with her. He told me that he was sincerely sorry and that he hated himself for doing this, but he explained that he just couldn’t stay away from her. What is wrong with him and all of the other men who leave their children for another woman? It’s such a selfish thing to do.”
I agree that this is an unthinkable action. It lets your family down in so many ways. And I think that wives have such a hard time understanding this because this is just something that we wouldn’t do. Even when we are unhappy in our marriages, we will often stick it out for the sake of our children. When our husbands won’t do the same, this is just so disappointing.
I have some theories as to why a man might leave his family when he’s in the throes of an affair. I’ll explain some of them below, but I’d like to stress that in no way am I making excuses. Because of my own situation, I don’t believe that there is any valid excuse.
Men Aren’t Often Thinking Rationally When They Are Having An Affair: You know the phrase “I wasn’t in my right mind?” Well, I believe that this is applicable during an affair. In order to betray your spouse and yourself, you will often have to act outside of your normal, rational self. Because if you weren’t able to do this, it would be very difficult to carry out your cheating. In a sense, you have to turn off your regular rational thinking and your regular emotions. And this is one way that they are able to leave those who are most important to them. They just aren’t having their normal thought processes. This doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it may offer some insight as to why they are not acting as they normally would.
They Know That They Can’t Look Into The Eyes Of Their Family Every Day And Continue To Do What They Are Doing: Often, cheating husbands live with a high degree of guilt. Every time they have to come home and see the faces of their children, every time they have to look into the trusting eyes of their spouse, they feel pain and guilt. Many of the cheaters who comment on my blog explain how trying and difficult it is to live this sort of double life. So it becomes clear that he can no longer live in this way. For whatever reason, he isn’t ready or willing to end the affair, so he will take the cowardly route out and move away from his family so that he no longer has to feel guilt every time he has to look at them.
Of course, none of these things are a valid excuse. And even if he does come to back home and pleads for forgiveness, it can be extremely hard for the wife to ever look at him in the same way again. I am not saying that healing is impossible because it’s not. But the husband will probably have a great deal of work to do over a long period of time if he wants to get his family back. It is very important that he prove to his wife that he fully understands how deplorable his actions were. It’s even more important that he has a plan to ensure that this never happens again.
Of course, some men never realize their mistake. Some don’t return to their families, which is even more sad. Some really want to attempt to return to their families but they are afraid of rejection. But many husbands do realize their mistake and then they try desperately to reason and negotiate with their wife. At that point, the wife has to make a choice as to whether she thinks that her marriage is worth saving or if she thinks that her husband will be able to be rehabilitated. This is a decision that only she can make. But she will often consider his willingness to go to be accountable for his actions and to put safeguards in place so that this doesn’t happen again.
I was extremely disappointed with my husband when he had an affair. But over time, he was able to prove himself to me again. And today, I’m glad that I gave us that second chance because his loyalty and rehabilitation made this worth it. If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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