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How to Love An Unfaithful Husband Again
Author: Katie Lersch
I often write about rescuing your marriage after an affair. Women often tell me that although they really want to save their marriage, they aren't able to imagine that they would ever trust and / or love their husbands again. They're afraid that too much destruction has taken place that can never be fixed. In essence, they feel beaten before they've even begun.
Often my response to the question "will I ever be able to love my husband again after his affair?" is a resounding yes. But, it won't always be easy. A lot of hard work is required, along with a willingness to see things from a different point of view, an open heart, and the ability to remember the positive as well as to consider the negative.
In Order To Bring Back The Love And Trust After His Being Unfaithful, You'll Need To Have Your Own Needs Met: Many times, people focus on the spouse who had the affair. There's a lot of talk about him not having his needs met as the reason that the affair happened. However, healing from an affair requires that you focus on YOUR needs as much as his. In order to love and trust him again, you will need to fully heal. And, in order to heal, you'll likely need the following.
You'll need to know that you've been heard and understood. You need reassurance that your husband knows just how much this has hurt you and that he feels your pain and will remember how awful this feels so that he won't want to repeat this behavior.
You'll need to know that he takes responsibility for his actions and holds himself accountable. He doesn't try to offer up excuses or shift the blame to you. He knows that to restore your trust, he must be an open book. He must tell you where he's going to be and be exactly where he said. He should allow you access to his cell phone and email if you ask. He should check in and reassure you that he still finds you desirable and is fully committed to doing whatever it takes to save this marriage.
If your husband isn't at this place, this doesn't mean he won't be. Often men will first try to downplay things hoping that not talking about it will make it go away. It's only after you make it very clear that you won't accept this does he realize that he can't just stick his head in the sand.
Finally, you both must be willing to be open and honest and to do the hard work necessary to understand why this affair happened. You'll need to improve intimacy and communication. You'll need to place safeguards in your marriage so that you're both secure in the fact that this isn't going to happen again. This is non negotiable. It must happen because if it doesn't, you're always going to wonder if you can trust him and you'll always have doubts.
Finally, you need to focus on creating a new, brighter reality. What's the point if you're going to limp along in the same vulnerable marriage? You want one that is better and that is created by two much happier individuals. Focus on reconnecting, creating new memories, and developing something that is so solid that there's no need to look back and live in the past.
You Must Love Yourself First In Order To Love Your Husband Again: This is huge, but so many women ignore this. If you are truly going to believe that your husband still loves you, then you must love yourself. An affair can be a death blow to our self esteem. We start to worry that we've let ourselves go, that we're no longer sexy in his eyes, and that the spark can't be reignited. The key to turning this around is seeing yourself as enough - that yes, you'd better believe you ARE sexy, you ARE desirable and that he's darn lucky to have you. Once you believe this about yourself, accepting his love and loving him back is so much easier.
Remembering Who He Was Before He Made One Very Unfortunate Mistake And Decided To Be Unfaithful: Please don't take this last paragraph wrong. I don't want you to think that I'm defending your husband. I'm not. However, I have so many men who write me who are desperate to make their wives see that the cheating was one time thing that they'd give anything to take back. They also often ask me how to communicate to their wives that the affair had nothing to do with them. Men cheat to make themselves feel better about aging, having responsibilities, and losing vitality. They want to feel desirable, understood, appreciated, and worthy.
They can and should have gotten this from their wives, but they've made an unfortunate impulsive decision that they can't take back. To love this man again, you have to have the time and distance to be able to separate the man from his decision. When I decided to save my marriage, I had to remember my husband as the guy who never left my side when my appendix burst, as the man who weekly gives blood to the red cross, as the guy who sat with my grandfather when we removed life support because I couldn't bear to do it but wanted someone holding his hand when he passed. The million and one great things my husband did went in to my decision to forgive this one bad thing.
In the end, it was a conscious decision on my part not to allow this one mistake to tear down the entire life that we'd built for ourselves. That doesn't mean the affair didn't hurt and shake me. It did. But, I decided that this man was worth fighting for and I vowed to take responsibility for my part in our marriage's vulnerabilities. I committed to doing the work necessary to drastically improve our marriage and I've never regretted it.
I know that working through the aftermath of an affair is difficult, but it can truly be worth it. 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 read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/