Now your wife is furious, and you understand that, because you expected it. Because your partner is not you. Mars and Venus on Cheating Generally speaking, men tend to be more able to separate and compartmentalize sex from love than women, who tend to view their lives more holistically, with all aspects interconnected and meaningful.
So a sexual dalliance on the part of a husband can register as an especially deep betrayal. Learning that her partner cheated, especially if she is invested in him, if she loves him, if she believes in him, and if she is committed to him, will be emotionally devastating.
There is no avoiding that, or her response. Put very simply, as I explain in Out of the Doghouse: A Step-by-Step Relationship-Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating, a betrayed partner is going to react with rage , fear , pleading, tears, vindictiveness, and pretty much every other strong emotion or behavior.
And she may even bounce from one response to another with little warning. If you've been unfaithful, this is what you should expect moving forward, and you need to accept it, whether you seek to repair your relationship or just move on to something else.
You also need to understand that your partner's seeming emotional instability is a perfectly normal response to infidelity. As such, it is not helpful to whine about her response: She is simply reacting in an appropriate way to your betrayal.
Consider the following analogy: You are a small business owner. You hire a down-on-his-luck friend to help you in the office. He has the needed skills, more or less, and you want to help him because you like him. One day, after you've noticed that the petty cash accounting has been off, you come to work early and catch him with his hand in the safe. You put him on "probation" but keep him on the payroll.
And he is incredibly grateful. Things are great for the next year or so. It may be innocent, but what is your immediate reaction going to be?
Your relationship is the same: And that is a perfectly natural reaction for her to have. And then you betrayed her and did everything you could to cover this up. The most emotionally significant person in her life, the person around whom she built her past, present, and future, stabbed her in the back, ripping her carefully constructed world apart with lies, secrets, manipulation, and what feels like a total lack of concern for her well-being.
A betrayed partner's emotional reactivity can continue for more than just a few days or weeks. Your mate no longer trusts anything you do or say.
She might even install tracking software on your phone and other devices, or hire a private detective to follow you. Your partner may be sad one minute, angry the next, and affectionate the next. And these moods could shift with no warning. But a few minutes later, she may express remorse and apologize. Your spouse might begin to micromanage your life and every aspect of your relationship, including finances, child care, chores, or your free time, just as one would a small child. As such, you might find you have little say in the day-to-day rhythm of your life.
And your partner will likely resent you for forcing her to assume this extra responsibility. Your partner may, of course, lash out. The attacks may be verbal, calling you names, devaluing the good things you've done, and basically hitting below the belt in any way possible.
Your partner may at times seem obsessed with your cheating, wanting to know every little detail about what you did, with whom, and when. This seeming obsession may keep her up at night, give her nightmares , and destroy her ability to focus on everyday matters. This is the opposite of obsessive questioning, but equally common: Basically, your mate may work to avoid thinking or talking about your betrayal.
She might pretend it never happened. She might even avoid interacting with you altogether, except for the most superficial communication. Even more perplexing is that she might flip-flop between interrogating you and avoiding you.
This is similar to avoidance; here, the spouse is so intent on not feeling the pain of your betrayal that she numbs herself with drinking , drugs , binge eating , compulsive spending, gambling, exercising, or any other potentially escapist activity. Your partner may tie her self-esteem to your relationship. Shutterstock Needless to say, none of these perfectly natural responses are fun for a cheater to deal with. I suggest the latter approach.
He is the author of several highly regarded books, including Out of the Doghouse: Currently, he is Senior Vice President of National Clinical Development for Elements Behavioral Health , creating and overseeing addiction and mental health treatment programs for more than a dozen high-end treatment facilities.
For more information please visit his website, robertweissmsw.