Why Has My Husband Not Apologized For His Affair?

By: Katie Lersch: I often hear from people who are both disappointed and confused as to why their spouse hasn’t expressed sorrow, regret, or an apology about cheating or having an affair. Because it’s not as if they don’t deserve one. Cheating is one of the worst things that you can do to someone you love. And this type of betrayal often requires a great deal of lying and deception, which is also an offense that deserves an elaborate apology. But when this doesn’t come, it can cause quite a bit of frustration and confusion.

I might hear a comment like: “my husband had an affair with a childhood friend of mine who moved back home after she divorced her husband. Strangely, my husband has never really liked this woman, but apparently, at some point he changed his mind. Our marriage had hit a bit of a rough patch because I’m having some medical issues that have kept me from being as intimate with my husband as much as I might like. Neither of us were happy about this, but I sincerely thought that I would find a resolution and that we could pick up where we left off. Imagine my shock when this other woman asked me out to lunch and announced that she had started up a serious relationship with my husband. When I confronted my husband, he didn’t deny it. He very begrudgingly agreed to end the affair, but he doesn’t seem all that motivated to make this right. He has not apologized about this, not even once. Nor has he offered any sort of explanation. I can’t believe this, honestly. We have seen friends go through infidelity and my husband was always very judgmental to those who were unfaithful. He was obviously extremely wrong to go behind my back, lie to me, and carry on with someone who I consider a friend. But he has not so much uttered a simple ‘I’m sorry’ for this. Why not?”

There are many reasons that a husband may not immediately offer an apology for his affair. In the following article, I will offer some potential reasons as to why you may not be getting an apology and how you might successfully handle this.

He Feels Justified In His Actions (Or He Wants For You To Think That He Does:) Many people will put up a defense mechanism in this situation. They don’t want to continue to feel guilty or bad about themselves (although this is often unavoidable.) And they think that if they allow you to see how guilty or badly they already feel, you’re only going to make them feel worse. So they figure that it is in their best interest to try to push down these negative feelings. They may even try to tell themselves that they were justified in cheating because you weren’t meeting their needs or because the marriage was falling short in some way.

You may not be able to convince him to immediately show his remorse (especially at first,) but you can often stress that you don’t buy this excuse. You can very directly say something like: “I notice that you haven’t yet expressed remorse, regret, or an apology. I have no way of knowing why this is your stance. But I do know that regardless of what your justification might be, we have both agreed in the past that there is no valid excuse for cheating. I still believe that and I still hold firm to it. There’s really nothing that you can say that is ever going to convince me that this action was in any way justified. I hope that you will see this and that you will eventually show some remorse or an apology because I am not going to change my mind about this.”

He May Be Trying To Lower Your Expectations: I find that many people will sort of posture in the days and weeks following the discovery of the affair. He isn’t sure how you are going to react. He isn’t sure for how long this is going to turn your life upside down. So often, he will try very hard to negate the impact of this. One way that he might attempt to do this is to attempt to make sure that you don’t expect too much.

By not apologizing, he may be attempting to let you know that you shouldn’t expect a long, drawn out healing period in which you expect him to fall all over himself with apologies and with him begging for forgiveness. Sometimes, the best way around this is to let him know that you aren’t trying to punish him and that you don’t expect a life time of redemption. But you have every right to expect an apology and to expect for him to take responsibility for making this right.

You might consider a response like: “I think that it may help us to talk about our expectations moving forward. You can tell me what you expect and want. I can assure you that I don’t mean to punish you for the rest of our lives, but I do deserve an explanation and a sincere apology. We will have a very hard time saving our marriage and healing if you don’t understand how wrong this truly was and if I don’t believe that you are truly sorry. Your trying to pretend that you were justified and are not remorseful doesn’t really help us. I hope that you will eventually see that.”

He may not suddenly shower you with heartfelt apologies, but the more you show him that there is really no advantage for him when he embraces this strategy, he will be less likely to contiue on with it.   I had to draw some lines in the sand with my own husband after his affair.  You can read more of my story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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