Do Husbands Who Have Affairs Still Love Their Wives? Here's Why I Think That Many Do
Author: Katie Lersch
I often write about surviving affairs. One of the more common questions that I'm asked is something like: "my husband recently cheated on me, but insists that he still loves me and wants to save our marriage. How can this be possible? Is it realistic that a husband can cheat and still love his wife, or is he just saying this because he's been caught?" I'll attempt to answer this question in the following article.
Is It Possible For Husbands To Have Affairs, But Still Love Their Wives?: The short answer is yes, but it depends upon the marriage, the circumstances, and the husband. Statistics tell us that most husbands who cheat often do still love their wives. There is an infidelity study which indicated that over 85% of men who cheat deeply regret the affair and wish that they could spare their wives the pain that it caused. Only a little over 10% of the same husbands said that the other woman was in some way better or more attractive than their own wives.
There is a stereotype or perception which assumes that men who cheat do so because things are bad at home, that the spark with their wives can't be revived, or that he prefers the mistress over his wife. This often just is not the case.
More often, men cheat not because of how they feel about their wives, their marriages, or even the other woman. They cheat because of how they feel about themselves. Often, the cheating is a way to reclaim their youth, attractiveness, excitement, or vitality. Their self esteem is often at an all time low, which often has very little to do with you (or your marriage.) More often, it has to do with aging, stress, problems with their job or issues with their health or appearance.
The cheating is an attempt to get back little pieces of their former self in an attempt to raise their flagging self esteem and to feel better. At the time, they don't realize that this is just a band aid, that when the affair ends badly and causes pain (which it almost always does) they're going to feel even worse about themselves and have that much more ground to make up.
No, they can't see these things at the time because they are acting on emotion and fear and they aren't thinking or acting rationally. This compromised state helps them to justify their actions, rationalize them, and separate their love for their wives with their poor decisions and actions. Of course, this will all come crashing down later - but they can't see that at the time.
How To Know If You Can Believe Your Husband When He Insists He Still Loves You After Having An Affair: Women often ask me how to know if their husbands are truly sorry about the affair or are sorry that they got caught. There are some indications that I can point out, but I need to tell you that not all husbands will do these things at first. Often, husbands will try to downplay or gloss over the affair in the hopes to get things back to normal sooner. It's important that you are very firm that things will not change or get better until your husband starts giving you what you need to heal. With that said, here are some signs that your husband still loves you after the affair:
He's Responsible And Accountable: Husbands who still love their wives don't blame them for the affair. Sure, there were likely clues that you didn't pick up on or, there may have been places where you left your marriage vulnerable. But, ultimately, your husband made a decision to cheat and he should take responsibility for this.
Likewise, if he's really sorry and committed to saving the marriage, he will make himself (and his actions) an open book. He'll do everything he can to let you know where he is and what he's doing. He'll allow you to check his cell phone and his email. He may not enjoy this and you should know that his patience won't last forever, but a husband who is still committed will make these sacrifices knowing that it is his actions that made them necessary in the first place.
He'll Do Whatever Is Needed For As Long As It's Needed: Husbands who still love their wives and want to salvage the marriage are willing to do the hard and often uncomfortable work necessary to ensure that the marriage not only recovers, it actually improves. This is the thing that most people don't understand about affairs. If you play it right, your marriage can actually be better than ever rather than having to limp along with both of you wounded and regretful. Granted, it can be a lot of work and you'll have to let yourself be vulnerable again and will have to improve your communication and intimacy skills, but the rewards can be phenomenal for putting in this time.
A husband who still loves his wife is willing to do this work because he can see the potential and the light at the end of the tunnel and he knows his wife and his marriage are worth these sacrifices.
It can be difficult to stay the course when he's always the bad guy, and he may get frustrated and impatient at times, but he's willing to keep it up, knowing that doing so is helping the woman that he loves to heal. He knows that this is his responsibility since he actions where the cause of the pain.
Again, if your husband is not yet at this point, it doesn't mean that he won't ever get there. You may need to be very honest with him about what you're needing from him and the marriage. As nice as it would be if he could, he unfortunately can not read your mind. It would make things easier for you if he could, but he can't. Speaking up about what you need is the only way ensure you get it and can ultimately heal once and for all.
Surviving The Affair is a blog I put together to share my story. I know that this is a very difficult time, but working through it can truly be worth the effort. Although I never would've believed this two years ago, I did eventually truly get over the affair. My marriage is stronger than ever. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Our bond and intimacy is much stronger and because of all the work I did on myself, my self esteem is at an all time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can check it out at http://surviving-the-affair.com/