How Do I Stop Hating My Spouse After He Cheated And Had An Affair?

I sometimes hear from wives who feel a good deal of anger and hatred toward their husband after they catch him cheating or having an affair. Sometimes, the intensity of these feelings take these wives by surprise. They are stunned. Most will tell you that they are not the type of person who feels negative emotions like hatred. Most are able to look the other way when someone angers them. And most will tell you that they never would have believed that they could feel hatred toward the man who they loved more than anyone else. However, that is what they are feeling now – white hot hatred that takes over everything else.

Many are scared by these feelings. Some have children and know that feeling this way toward their children’s father is not going to do anyone any good. Many wish that they could stop the feelings in their tracks, but find that they can not just turn it off and on. They might say: “if you had told me five years ago that I would one day feel this type of hatred toward my husband, I would have called you a liar. I adore my husband. I truly do. That is, until I caught him cheating on me. Now I feel so angry and betrayed that I literally think that I hate him. And that is very hard for me because just last week, I thought about how lucky I was and how much I loved him. But I can’t get over what he has done to me and what he risked and may just throw away. However, I have children and a business with him so I know that I can not go the rest of my life hating him. I know that I need to eventually let down these feelings, but I can’t even fathom how it would be possible because I feel this choking anger every waking hour. I look at him and my blood boils. How do women not just absolutely hate their husbands after infidelity?”

I can not speak for anyone else, but I am willing to share some of my feelings with you in the hopes that it will help. Make no mistake. I was absolutely furious with my husband for cheating and at times thought about doing him bodily harm (although I know that I never would have actually gone through with this. I did, however, destroy plenty of household items and mementos.) I really can not overstate how angry I was. And I stayed that way for quite a while. Right now, you can not see beyond the anger, which is understandable. It can take a while for you to be able to set that aside and to think rationally. Do not be so hard on yourself for that. It is normal.

In my own case, I came to learn that while I could not turn off my feelings, I could redirect them. Like you, I did not want for my children to be exposed to any aspect of the affair, so if I were really angry when we were all together, I would busy or excuse myself. If I was so angry that I might say or do something that I would regret, I would try to avoid or escape the situation. I would wait to interact until another time. Or I’d simply tell my husband that I needed a break for a while and he would give that to me.

I do have to admit that one thing that likely contributed to the fact that I no longer harbor any hatred is that my husband did the right thing pretty quickly. He was remorseful, ended the affair, and agreed to do whatever I wanted or needed. If he had dragged his feet with this, the outcome may have been different. He pretty much did what I asked of him, although we both had resentments and hurt feelings along the way.

At the end of the day, I didn’t carry that hate with me because I decided to hate the action and the behavior rather than person. I hated the decision. I did not hate him. I can not deny that good people sometimes do bad things and make mistakes. I had to look at the totality of our marriage and decide for myself if the good that my husband had done had outweighed the bad. The truth is, it was not even close. My husband has been a rock for my entire family for years and years. He has taken care of myself and my children while thinking very little of himself. Did he do that when he cheated? Absolutely not. But I could not negate years of good behavior by days of bad behavior. A very close family member of mine (who has now passed away) was an alcoholic. Because of this, part of my childhood was very painful and at times, I have felt resentment and anger. But now that the family member is gone, I realize that I can hate the disease and still love the person. This family member was otherwise loving and kind. You can’t erase those qualities over one negative thing.

Should I Stop Begging For Forgiveness After My Affair So My Spouse Might Actually Forgive Me?

Most of the people who I hear from are upset because their spouse has been cheating and they aren’t sure how to move forward in a healthy way. Sometimes, though, I hear from the person who cheated. They too want to move forward in a healthy way, but their spouse is often very reluctant to trust them or to even give them a chance. They are often looking for the best strategy to get their spouse to listen to them and to at least give them some sort of opportunity.

Many have tried completely falling on the sword and begging for forgiveness. They will make every promise under the sun. They will promise to go to counseling or allow their spouse to call the shots or do whatever it takes to get their spouse not to leave them. Still, many times, this is not enough for the faithful spouse. They are understandably hurt and are reluctant to trust again. So the cheating spouse may begin to explore other options. Sometimes, well-meaning friends and family will tell the cheating spouse that they are being too much of a “pushover.” This can leave the spouse unsure as to what type of stance he or she should take in order to get even a small chance to save the marriage.

For example, a wife might say: “I have literally begged my husband to not end our marriage. I can’t blame him for being angry. I cheated on him and that is inexcusable. If the roles were reversed, I am not sure that I could forgive him. But I want him to forgive me because I do not want to break up my family and do this to our children. I have told my husband that I will do anything to make this up to him. I will go to counseling. I will stay home every night. I will drop my friends that my husband doesn’t like and thinks are a bad influence. I will do whatever it takes. My husband hasn’t completely shut me down or anything. But he won’t give me any sort of commitment and he won’t tell me that he’s even thinking about forgiving me or letting me back in. It basically works like this. I sulk around being terribly sorry and he acts as if I don’t exist. I ask him if I can make him dinner or get him anything and he basically refuses to allow me to do anything while not even looking at me. He acts like I’m just a bother. When I discuss this with my friends, they say that I should play hard ball a little more and not be as much of a pushover or be as accommodating. They say that I am almost inviting my husband to be mean to me because I’m acting like I don’t deserve respect. They say that yes, I made a mistake, but I’m not a bad person. Are they right? Should I pretend that I’m going to walk so that maybe he won’t want to lose me and then be a little more willing to hear me out?”

I’m going to try very hard to help, but have never been in your position. In fact, I have been in the opposite position (as the faithful spouse,) but this is actually why I think that I can help. Had my husband tried to play hard ball or pretend that he was going to walk if I hadn’t been receptive to him, well, I have to say that I might have opened the door for him. I would not have had any patience for this type of game playing. Essentially, I was waiting for my husband to show me his sincerity, not his attempts at manipulation. I was waiting to see if he was going to give up and then not make good on his promises. I was not just going to blindly believe his claims or just believe in him without first seeing him do the work.

Once he did everything he promised, I did begin to trust him again. He proved to me that I did not need to break up our family because it was not in my best interest to do so. I suspect that your husband may be watching and waiting in the same way. He’s looking for continued sincerity. It’s one thing to say all of the right things. It’s another thing to do all of the right things when you aren’t sure that anyone is watching. This type of rehabilitation just takes time, unfortunately. An affair does an awful lot of damage and you can’t just expect to make it right through words and reassurances. You have to make it right through repeated actions. There is no way to rush this.

Trying to rush it by playing hard ball or not being accommodating is almost emotional blackmail. It also indicates that you care more about your own time frame than on reassuring your spouse. It’s just not a good strategy at all. If anything, it will make your spouse doubt you more. So if you sincerely want is a spouse who believes in you again, manipulating them is about the worst way to go about it. Be sincere. Hang in there. And know that it might be rough for a while. But if you’re serious about your marriage, what other choice is there?

My Husband Continues To Lie After His Affair

Many wives who are dealing with infidelity understandably want the complete truth about every single, tiny detail of their husband’s life and thoughts. It might seem like overkill to some, but when you’ve been betrayed and fooled by a spiderweb of lies, then it can get to a point where you’ll only tolerate 100% of the truth at all times. This can include the mundane details of everyday life – and those little things that most would consider not important. Under this lens, many wives find that their husbands are still floating untruths, no matter how small. Understandably, this can get a wife’s suspicions up even when it’s possible that there is nothing amiss.

She might say, “I used to kind of shrug and sometimes laugh when my husband would downplay certain things or tell little white lies. For the most part, this was harmless. For example, he might lie on how much money he spent or when he last called his sister or mother. He might downplay how much time he spent at a bar or silly things like that. These are harmless things. But, since his affair, even small things like this are intolerable to me and it’s becoming a much bigger problem. I am now extremely sensitive to lies because his lying is what allowed him to successfully carry out his affair. It’s also why I did not suspect him until the affair had become a real problem. We fought an awful lot about his lying about or omitting details about the affair. I fought hard for the truth. I stressed that I could not move on until I felt that he had told me everything. So, little bits of additional information seeped out. I thought that once this was behind us, he would have learned that he needed to tell the truth. And yet, I still catch him in little white lies. He’ll tell me that he ate lunch at a certain place and come to find out, he ate somewhere else. Or he will mix up the order that he did things. When I confront him, he gets defensive and says that he misspoke and that it’s impossible to accurately account for every single second of his day. He told me that I should try it if I think that it’s so easy. Honestly, I know where I’ve eaten. Accurately. Every time. I admit that my husband can be scatterbrained at times. But I would think if he knows that honesty is important to me, he would make more of an effort. Am I wrong about this? To me, especially now, accuracy is vital. I have no patience for even small lies. Am I overreacting?”

I don’t think that you are. What you are going through is normal. I reacted in the same way. But I did find something interesting, at least in my own case. Sometimes, a mistake is just a mistake. For example, in the early stages of our recovery, I thought it was such a huge deal every time my husband misspoke. I thought that it was potentially catastrophic every time that he was late. He insisted that he was being truthful and sincere. And now, years later, I can look back and I can see that he was indeed telling me the truth. Because in the years since that time, he has done exactly what he claimed. But at the time, when things were so fresh that I assumed that every small suspicion meant for sure that he might be cheating again. And these suspicions meant that I absolutely could not be objective. So in my case, I saw problems where none existed. That said, a friend of mine assumed the best of her husband and he cheated again. So you just never know. My strategy became that the benefit of the doubt would be given until it didn’t make sense to do that anymore. If too many things are suspicious, well then, it’s prudent to pay attention. But if someone just misspeaks every once in a while and otherwise their behavior is sound, then that can be normal.

Honestly, one of the best things to try in this situation is to have a counselor ask your husband about inconsistencies. That way, you don’t have to be the bad guy and you don’t have to feed into your paranoia and suspicions. If your husband rejects counseling, try self-help that lists concrete questions to ask. Have your husband write out the answers so that this way, he is accountable for them. If what he claims turns out to be not true, you have a written record of it. But if he’s telling the truth, you don’t need to revisit it.

There is nothing wrong with insisting on complete transparency and truth after an affair. Both are necessary. If he’s lying consistently and about important things, that can be concerning. But if he’s just misspeaking about innocent things when you’re trying to “catch him” at every turn, then that can be more innocent. It’s usually the combination of his untruths and his behavior that is the most concerning. Some men aren’t great with details, but they show their loyalty consistently and they do everything that you ask of them. This distinction can be important.