It is very common for the faithful spouse to feel that the unfaithful spouse is trying to manipulate them after the affair has been discovered. Common manipulations attempt to make the faithful spouse feel guilty, responsible, or even compassionate.
Understandably, the faithful spouse is often reluctant to take on any of this. A wife might say, “The first time I caught my husband cheating on me, he was angry. He acted like I was the world’s biggest snooper and accused me of seeing things that weren’t there. He tried to make me feel like I was paranoid, until I showed him indisputable proof of the matter and then he had no choice but to back down. I stood firm with his anger and eventually I think he decided anger was the wrong tactic to try on me. Now he has apparently moved to pity. Now, he’s hanging around the house and when we talk about it, he starts crying. He says he’s a weak person who doesn’t deserve me. He says he’s fully aware that he has potentially ruined his life. He says he’s worried about losing everything and not having nobody. He asks me all the time if I know how awful he feels about himself and how much he hates himself. I wonder if this is all an act. And even if it isn’t, I wonder why he thinks that I should care.s choice . And now I’m supposed to feel sorry for him? He sure didn’t feel sorry for me when he was sleeping with someone else. I don’t feel any pity for him and when he tries to make me feel this, I feel more anger towards him. Does anyone feel sorry for unfaithful husbands? “
Empathy (not pity) can happen sometimes with a lot of time and healingWell, I think some wives eventually come to feel some kind of understanding and empathy, even if you don’t define it as pity. And I think the reason for this is that sometimes, the anger subsides after a while and you can see this with a little more objectivity. Once this happens, many wives have to admit that their husband was struggling when he made the decision to have an affair.
Usually a faithful husband is not seen cheating when he is on top of the world without a problem. Instead, you see him cheat at a time when he feels pretty bad about himself. You may have simply suffered a loss, such as being fired from a job or dealing with a sick or dying family member. Or you may simply be struggling with the aging process or maintaining self-confidence in middle age when things haven’t gone as planned.
Are any of these things valid reasons for cheating? No, at least not in my opinion. No matter how bad things are for any of us, there is always a choice to make. Cheating husbands make a very unfortunate decision that can hurt many people. And even when they are struggling, they must take responsibility for the same because they are the people who set everything in motion.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t sympathize with their struggles. They may have been struggling before the adventure and now their problems are multiplying as the adventure is discovered and people are angry and disappointed in them. His problems seem to only multiply.
You can feel sympathy and still make it clear to your husband that sympathy does not mean that he is blameless. You could try: “I hear what you’re saying. Things are a mess right now. And I’m sorry you’re struggling. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean up the mess. I’m struggling.” , too. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to feel sorry for myself and take no action. I’ll support you if you want to go and talk to someone about this, which I think is a good idea. behind you getting help to feel better and get through this. I don’t think you’re a bad person, but you made a bad decision, which we both pay for. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, why don’t we try to improve this? I am not a therapist so I am limited to what I can do to help you, but I support you in seeing one. “
The difference between empathy and real help: I think this is an important distinction. We may empathize with our husband and want to help him, but often we are not qualified to do so. Not only are most of us inexperienced in mental health, but we don’t have the objectivity to advise you without thinking about the implications for ourselves and our marriage. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is encourage him to talk to someone. And make sure we do the same.
You are not the only one struggling. It often makes sense for both spouses to talk to someone. Two emotionally healthy people are going to deal with this much more effectively than two people who are struggling. Also, it’s hard to empathize with him when you’re struggling with yourself. That’s why it’s not shameful to encourage him to get your empathy from a trained professional, at least in the beginning. You are not responsible for providing it when you are fighting.