By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from spouses who are so upset that their cheating spouse is not only not showing remorse and guilt, they are being downright hateful and mean. This can leave the faithful spouse wondering what they have done to deserve this kind of treatment, especially since they weren’t the one who cheated.
I heard from a wife who said: “my husband cheated on me with a coworker. He only admitted it because I caught him. When I confronted him, he acted as if I did something wrong. He acted like I was the most deplorable person imaginable for spying on him, even though all the signs of cheating were there. He hasn’t left me. I think he is scared that if he leaves, I won’t give him access to the kids and it is going to cost him a lot of money. But he is so very rude and mean to me. You would think that a man who cheated would be falling all over himself to be sweet in order to inspire some forgiveness. But he is actually just the opposite. He’s distant. He make nasty comments about me being a snoop under his breath. He insinuates that he cheated on me because my own behavior drove him to it. Sometimes, I feel like replying that if I’m such a horrible person, what is he doing still married to me. But then I become afraid that I don’t want to know the answer to that question. I don’t understand why he’s acting so nasty. I haven’t done anything wrong. I think I’m a good wife. Yes, I spied on him. But he deserved it. Why is he acting this way?”
There can be many reasons that cheating spouses will act less than kind to their spouse after they have been caught cheating. Most of the reasons are the result of some sort of defense mechanism or an attempt to justify the cheating. I will discuss this more in the following article.
If Your Spouse Admitted (Even To Themselves) That You Are In No Way At Fault, They Would Feel That Much More Guilty: Very few cheating spouses want to admit to your innocence (even to themselves.) But very few people can cheat and not be almost overcome with guilt. Even when you know that your spouse isn’t perfect or there is no doubt that your marriage is seriously lacking, deep in your heart, you know that cheating is wrong. People who cheat often hear little voices in the back of their heads that make them feel such shame because the voice asks how they could do this to someone who loves and trusts them.
One way to quiet that voice is to attempt to make your spouse out to be the bad guy. Because if you admit that your spouse is a decent person who is loyal and loving, then you really must be jerk to betray them in this way. So sometimes when he is mean to you, this is his way of distancing himself. He wants to paint you as less than perfect. He wants to be angry at you. Because this makes it so much easier for him to carry on his cheating.
He Might Be Being Mean Because He Wants To Keep You At A Distance As A Defense Mechanism: As hard as it is to listen to that little voice in your head when you’re cheating, it’s also awful to have to look your spouse in the eye and face them once the ugly truth has come out.
Often, they don’t know what to do or say. And the sight of you in such pain and with so much disappointment written all over your face is almost impossible to bear. The look in your eyes reminds them of what they have done all over again. So to spare themselves pain, they want for you to keep your distance. One way to ensure you keep your distance is for them to be mean to you. They are hoping that as a result, you won’t ask for all the details or won’t make demands.
How To Handle It When Your Spouse Is Being Distant Or Mean After They Cheated: Even if you’ve begun to understand why your spouse might be acting the way that they are, none of this makes their behavior right. And I sometimes if you don’t call them on this behavior, they may try to continue it. I believe it’s best to comment on it rather than continuing to allow it to happen.
So the next time he makes one of those snide comments, you might consider stopping him and saying something like: “do you think I don’t hear that? Your comments are hurtful and I can’t pretend otherwise. You act as if I have done something wrong or that I have done something to hurt you when you know that neither is the case. I can’t continue to allow you to treat me this way. You say that you are staying and that you want to save our marriage. But we can’t do that if you continue to treat me this way. If I’ve done something to make you angry or to inspire your comments, then let’s discuss it right now. Otherwise, I don’t want to hear it anymore. Nothing that I have done justifies your cheating on me. That is the issue that we need to work through. So when you are ready to talk about that, I’m willing to listen. Until then, I won’t listen to you belittle or criticize me when I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Sometimes, this will be enough and he will realize you are not going to let him get away with this. It is important that you don’t just pretend as if you don’t care or allow him to continue on. Because if you don’t counter him, then he has no reason to stop. And you really can’t rebuild a healthy marriage if he can’t respect you enough to stop the rude or mean comments.
My husband did try to posture in the days and weeks after my learning about the affair. But I wasn’t going to allow certain things and I quickly made him aware of this. He backed down, but not without a lot of resentment in the beginning. Still, it really helped to set those boundaries because we both knew what to expect. If it helps, you can read my story of recovery on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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