by: katie lersch: Many women who are dealing with a husband’s affair will tell you that the lying is one of the biggest issues to overcome. Processing the lies that he told you while the affair was going on can be extremely difficult. But dealing with his continued lies when the affair is out in the open can be even worse. I recently heard from a wife who was struggling with this issue.
She said, in part: “I’ve made it very clear to my husband that I won’t accept one more lie from him. I have repeatedly told him that he needs to tell me the whole truth about the affair from this moment forward if he’s ever going to have the slightest chance of me ever trusting or believing in him again. But I have found out that he is continuing to lie to me. He’s leaving things out and he’s trying to make things sound more innocent than they actually were. Why is he doing this? Does he not intend to tell me the truth? Does he think I’m stupid? Does he think I’m not serious about demanding nothing but complete honesty from this day forward? My sister says he’s just trying to tell me what I want to hear, but this isn’t what I want from him. I want brutal honesty and I can’t understand why he won’t give this to me. Why do men lie about the affair when they’re trying to repair their marriage? Don’t they know that lying is what got them into this mess in the first place?”
Reasons Men Continue To Lie After An Affair: These are all extremely good questions. I’m not a man who has had an affair so my answers will be based on my own experience with this topic, on research and on the interactions that I have with men on my infidelity blog. Very often, these men will tell you that they aren’t lying to be malicious. In their own minds, they think that they are sparing you some pain and they are trying to set things up so that repairing the marriage becomes more likely. They worry that you’re just saying that you want to know every thing and that the second they give you what you supposedly want, you’re going to use this information against them or will become even more angry. In short, they are reluctant to make things worse. Many men will tell the truth on the issues that they thing are the least damaging. And they will stretch the truth or lie on the things that are likely to get you the most upset or hurt you the most.
I’m not defending these men or insinuating that they have legitimate reasons for their lies. I’m telling you this to give you some perspective on why they might still be unwilling to tell you the whole truth. Sometimes, you have to understand the context in which the lies are told. In their minds, when they lied during the affair, they were deceiving you, but when they are lying now, they are trying to protect you.
What Should You Do When Your Husband Continues To Lie About The Affair When You’re Trying To Save Your Marriage?: Many women in this situation don’t really care why their husband continues to lie. They just want him to tell the truth. And they want to know how to accomplish this when he’s apparently too scared or too unwilling to start telling the whole truth. As tempting and as deserved as it may be, sometimes the worst thing that you can do is to become angry, lose control, or make threats.
This is likely to make your husband defensive. And your anger may well reinforce his fear that no matter what he does, you’re going to remain angry so it’s better to just keep quiet. So one thing that you must overcome is his belief that he just can’t win. It can help to ask yourself what you absolutely have to know and to then focus on those things in the beginning. Sometimes, you will get better results if you allow him to tell you things gradually so that things don’t get too overwhelming for either of you.
And as he begins to see that it’s “safe” to tell you the truth and believes that you are being truthful when you say that things will be better for him when he’s brutally honest, then he will be more likely to do just that. (When you’re insisting that your husband be totally honest, make sure that you are prepared to hear this truth. It’s very common for us wives to say that we want to know everything, only to become enraged or resistant when we do hear the very thing we’ve asked for.) I’m not saying that he doesn’t deserve your anger. But I am saying that you have to understand that your anger is the last thing that he wants when he’s trying to repair your marriage. And you’re asking him to do something that he knows is going to further jeopardize his marriage.
So, my suggestion is always to start small and gradually. Sometimes this means delaying the things that you know are going to cause the biggest problems. You might start by requesting the truth about the smaller issues. And once he complies, you then try your best to respond to them as best as you can so that eventually he will feel safe being honest about the bigger things. Because his knowing that transparency is what you really want and need will go a long way towards his being willing to do what you have asked.
He has to understand that his honesty is one of the components necessary to repair his marriage. That way, if he truly is serious about saving the marriage, he will eventually begin to lie less and less. And when you catch him lying, rather than blowing up or making threats, you might reply with something like: “we both know that you are not telling me the truth. I have to stress to you that I need complete honesty in order to feel safe repairing our marriage. Trust is a big issue for us right now and honesty is necessary for this trust. Can you rethink your response? I understand that you don’t want to make things worse, but I’d rather deal with the difficult issues than continue to wonder if I can believe or trust you.”
He may not immediately come forward with the whole truth. But hopefully gradually as he begins to believe that it’s safe to begin to tell you things about which he was unsure, you should see some improvements in his level of honesty.
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