I just found out that my husband had a brief affair for a few months last year. My husband says that he still loves me but I am not sure if I believe him.How can I trust that what he is saying is the truth when he lied to me and cheated?
Sincerely: Hurt and Confused
Dear Hurt and Confused
When it comes to sex with women, men are 100% different than women. Men have the ability to compartmentalize their feelings so that it is just sex and nothing more where as women have a harder time separating both the emotional and physical aspects of sex. Now I’m not trying to condone what your husband did, but there is an element of truth to what he is saying. It is quite possible that it was sex and nothing more, but let’s explore this in more detail.
His Actions Are Not An Indication Of His True Feelings
This is a bone of contention with most readers. But let me try and explain why having an affair doesn’t mean that your husband doesn’t love you. I realize a lot of people don’t agree on this one but I believe that infidelity does not mean that the cheater doesn’t love his wife. For example a man might be totally faithful to his wife but beat her senseless behind closed doors. Are we to assume then that since he didn’t cheat on her that he loves her more?
When given the chance to explain and clarify their feelings, most cheaters will acknowledge their mistake but at the same time admit they never fell out of love with their spouse. In most cases they will tell you that the affair happened not out of lust but out of their own insecurities. But the victim here thinks differently. They often believe that the cheater is just saying this to make them feel better. But I believe them and I’ll tell you why.
Firstly, you’ll see through their insincerity. If the cheater has made their life transparent and has nothing to hide then their actions will follow suit. The second indicator that a cheater is sincere and wants to change their ways is evident in the fact that they have cut off all contact with the other woman. And on a slightly different note, family therapists and research experts have noted that affairs are generally triggered by stressful situations in people’s lives, leading them to feel vulnerable and unsure of themselves.
Don’t misunderstand me here I’m not defending what he did. Feeling insecure about yourself is no excuse to cheat. Many men struggle with similar issues and manage to stay faithful to their wives. But it’s important to know that they have chosen this path because of personal issues, not because they don’t love their wives.
How Do I Know He Still Cares For Me?
One of the most common questions women have after an affair is this: “How can I be certain he’s still in love with me?” How can I believe a single thing he’s said when he’s already lied to me?” The answer to this is founded in his actions, not his words. As mentioned before, look at his behavior towards you.
Now before I list the actions you need to look for from your man, let me start by saying that just because you don’t see every single one of these doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. It’s possible your man could be feeling sheepish and defensive at the moment and doesn’t know quite what to do next. Try telling him exactly what you expect from him. In many cases, cheaters want to make things right in the relationship but they don’t what their spouse needs or how to give it to them.
Cheaters have feelings too, so one thing you want to look for is if they’re remorseful for their actions. How he displays this remorse might vary from man to man. Maybe he doesn’t spend all day apologizing or begging for forgiveness. However, his actions should show you that he’s disappointed with himself and he may even be scared at the prospect of losing you. Maybe he slumps his shoulders and looks worn and drawn out. He may look angry, but he’s not angry with you, he’s angry with himself and his foolish decisions. Women incorrectly assume that this anger is directed at them, but it’s not.
The next thing the cheater should do is ask his wife for specific things he can do to reassure her. He might even try and display physical affection towards her. However, a lot of men will have a hard time with this because they are worried that the last thing you want is physical attention. Most cheating men assume that the very sight of them repulses their wives. However, this shouldn’t come as a shock after an affair. However, what they’re really doing is getting a feel for things so they have an idea of what to do next.
Lastly, the best way to know if your husband still loves you after his affair is the fact that he’s still with you. And when the dust settles that’s what counts – that he’s still present. This doesn’t mean you drive him away to see if he’ll stay with you. Be true to yourself and your feelings and act accordingly. Maybe your husband doesn’t show every behavior. Perhaps you’re not getting what you think you need or want at the moment from him. If you’re not, don’t be afraid to tell him and give him the opportunity to show you he cares.
Get Immediate Help Right Now and Survive the Affair
For more professional advice on how to understand your husband’s actions and trust him again after his affair download your copy of the Survive an Affair course and Couples Therapy Workbook from MarriageSherpa.com.