I often write about surviving an affair in your marriage, so I sometimes get emails asking for my opinion or my help. The other day, I received one from a woman who stated that "my husband has cheated on me but he refuses to be honest about it." After a bit of prodding, I was able to determine that this wife only suspected her husband was cheating (with pretty good reason) but the husband was just continuing to adamantly deny that anything had happened.
Now, I also often get emails that say virtually the same thing, but in those cases, the husband has admitted to the affair, but refuses to be honest with the wife about the specifics of the cheating - why it happened, where it happened, how it happened, etc.
So, I'm not sure which of these situations you may be in, but my hope is that this article will help wives in either situation to bring about some honesty and some healing whether the cheating really happened or not.
If You Know For Sure Your Husband Has Cheated, But He Still Won't Be Honest About The Specifics: Sometimes, there's no denying that the husband has cheated. He's either admitted it, you've caught him, or the circumstances leave little room for doubt. Still, he refuses to come clean with the details. When you ask how, or why, or when, he changes the subject or just flat our refuses to talk about it. This can be very frustrating as you will have a very hard time moving on if you don't know exactly what you're dealing with and why.
Understand though, that many men keep the details of the affair to themselves because they think they are sparing you more pain or they think that the less they bring up or talk about the affair, the quicker that all of this is going to go away. Both you and I know this logic is extremely faulty, but this is their thinking just the same.
The best way to handle this is to try to lay the foundation that you aren't going to use the details to ignite the situation even worse or to punish your husband even more. Explain that you need to know these things because they will help you understand the contributing circumstances of the affair and deal with them appropriately. And, if you want to save the marriage, you will absolutely need a very firm handle on why the affair happened so that you can prevent leaving your marriage vulnerable again.
That said, there are going to be other things that you will need from your husband if you want to save the marriage (his taking full responsibility, his being accountable and available, his cutting off all contact with the other woman, and his giving you the patience, affection, and reassurance you need to heal.) Feel free to show you husband this article if you think it will help him understand that you really need this information for your own healing.
If You Think Your Husband Is Cheating, (But Have No Concrete Proof ) And He Refuses To Be Honest And Tell The Truth About The Affair: This one is lot trickier. Let's say that every fiber in your being is telling you your husband is having an affair. Let's even concede that his behavior is unbelievably suspicious, but when you confront him, he acts as if you are crazy or delusional and continues to deny it. Bear with me when I say this, but if you are really still in this marriage and want to save it, you have to be very careful how you proceed here.
Yes, if your husband is truly having an affair, you deserve and need to know it, but many perfectly good marriages have been ruined because one party allowed their unsubstantiated suspicions to get out of control. Here's the better way to handle it.
Once you've asked your husband and he has denied it, then come at him another way. First, try to remain as calm and as rational as you can. Assure him that you aren't trying to "catch" or "corner" him. Just say that, if he were having an affair, you'd want to know so that you can heal the marriage because the distance is really hurting you and the marriage. He needs to know that you aren't just waiting to pounce as soon as the bomb is dropped.
If this doesn't work, here's yet another angle. Say that you love him and value the marriage, but you feel a distance and mistrust developing between you. Ask him if he would be willing to work with you to make things better. Suggest spending more time together or getting away. A husband who is not having an affair is probably going to be very receptive to this (subject to scheduling, of course). A husband who is having an affair will likely balk or make excuses. (Note: if your husband says he's tied up or busy, but is receptive to planning a get away in the future, give him the benefit of the doubt unless he cancels.)
Here's the bottom line. Until you know for sure that your husband is having an affair, try to restrain yourself from being overly aggressive or accusing him without proof. Because acting this way is only going to push your husband away or make an affair (or it's continuing) much more likely. And, if you're looking for evidence, make absolutely sure he doesn't know. Because suspicion is just another form of dishonesty which can seriously damage a marriage without cause.
The best thing to do is to request your husband's help in strengthening the marriage. If he isn't having an affair, it's a win / win situation anyway. If he is, this is likely to come out as you move forward in this plan. Either way, working on your marriage will put you in a better position no matter which situation is ultimately the truth.
My husband was not completely honest with all of the details about the affair at first. He thought he was sparing my feelings. With a little work though, we were able to work through it and knowing the truth helped in my healing. Today, our marriage is stronger than ever. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read my very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/
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