Why Would Someone Who Cheats Think His Wife Still Belongs To Him?

By: Katie Lersch:  Many wives who contact me are extremely confused about their husband’s behavior either during or after his affair.  Many don’t understand how their husband can have any type of expectation for his wife when he’s thrown away that privilege by his betrayal.  One example of what I am talking about is a cheating husband who suddenly becomes possessive of his wife.

Here’s a typical scenario.  A wife might say: “it has been five weeks since I found out about my husband’s affair.  My husband is currently at home during the week because his job is far away from his brother’s house.  But on weekends, he is staying with his brother because I am so angry with him that I don’t necessarily want him here.  We barely talk during the week.  Lately, I’ve been trying to go out with friends on my weekends.  I feel lonely being here all by myself.  Last weekend, I was out with coworkers.  There were a few men there, but I wasn’t looking for any romantic encounters.  My husband called me while I was out and he heard some of the men talking in the background.  He became very angry.  He said that ‘his wife’ should not be seen going out with other men.  This enraged me.  He has obviously been going out with another woman.  And he was cheating and I am not.  What a double standard.  I told him that he had no claim whatsoever on me.  He told me that I am still his wife and that it isn’t appropriate for me to be out like this.  I repeated that there was nothing romantic at all about my being out.  I stopped debating this with him because I just didn’t see the point.  But here is what I don’t understand – why would a cheating husband think that his wife belongs to him when he gave up any claim when he cheated?  I just can’t understand that thought process.”

Well, no one can read your husband’s mind, but I can certainly give you some theories.  I hear from a lot of husbands who have been caught cheating.  I believe that your husband may be well aware that he doesn’t necessarily have the right to question who your friends are or who you are out with.

It May Be Wishful Thinking On His Part: Your husband may be just operating under wishful thinking.  He may wish that he had that right and he might be hoping that you will not question him.  Ideally, he may be hoping that you will be able to reconcile and so he doesn’t want you to get in a relationship with someone else before the two of you can work things out.

He May Be Worried About Your Cheating To Get Back At Him: Honestly, a lot of people who have cheated become very paranoid that their spouse is going to “revenge cheat” on them as a form of pay back.  Deep down, they know that they almost deserve this – so they are always on the look out for it.  It may not be that your husband truly believes that he has any right to tell you what to do or who to see, but it could be that he is hoping to not allow any further damage to your marriage before you can try to fix it.

I am not trying to defend your husband.  And I know that you probably have no intention whatsoever of being romantically involved with anyone else right now or to “revenge cheat.”  But he does have a point in that you are still married and that even the appearance of being involved with someone else can cause a whole bunch of problems to an already difficult situation.

Making Things Clear: There is nothing wrong with opening a discussion about this before things get worse and before there are additional misunderstandings.  You might try: “I hear what you are saying, but I think you have some perceptions that aren’t accurate.  I am out with friends of both genders so that I’m not sitting in an empty house.  These are platonic coworkers – although I don’t need to defend myself to you because this is totally innocent. There is nothing romantic about this.  You don’t need to worry about that. And by making this a huge issue, there’s a potential to create problems where none exist.  We have many issues that we are juggling. We don’t need to create more.  I’m offering you reassurance that I am not doing anything wrong. Please don’t continue to try to make feel as if I am.  I am not the one who cheated and I have no intention of doing so in the future.  I think that the best place to put our attention is on our own relationship – and not on my relationship with my platonic co-workers.”

Hopefully, these words will reassure him and he will drop the claims and possessive behavior.  But it’s possible that he is operating under fear.  He’s trying to pull you in because he is afraid of losing you.  Deep down, he knows that his actions have put his marriage at risk. So he’s possibly trying to draw you closer to keep further damage from happening.  What he doesn’t realize, (and will hopefully come to understand,) is that being possessive doesn’t really endear him to you and just creates misunderstandings.

I do understand why you feel defensive.  You did nothing wrong and yet his behavior makes you feel as though you have.  It might help to accept that he is likely acting out of fear.  Misunderstandings can be common in the early days.  I had plenty of them.  And yet, we eventually got through them. You can read more about this process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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