I often hear from wives who are beyond disgusted and frustrated with their husband’s behavior. Often, these wives are dealing with a husband who is having (or who recently had) an affair. And many of them tell me that their husband is acting like a fool or is behaving in such a way that is embarrassing to him or his family. I often hear comments like “when is my husband going to wake up and realize how stupid and ridiculous he looks when he’s running around with that woman?” “Or, when is my husband going to come to his senses and realize how he’s potentially jeopardizing his family for someone who deserves no place in our lives?” In the following article, I’ll discuss the different ways that I see this sort of situation play out.
Many Husbands Do Eventually Come To Their Senses After An Affair, But It May Not Happen As Quickly As You’d Like: One thing that wives often don’t understand about affairs is that they usually come out of a man’s personal crisis or self esteem issue. In other words, he’s usually acting in an attempt to feel better about himself or about his place in the world. Perhaps he’s just suffered some loss or is unsure about his abilities or strengths in some area. An affair is usually an attempt to solve this issue and feel better about it without actually having to address it or work on it.
Quite often, the man in question doesn’t see this as it’s happening. He certainly doesn’t want to face or take a hard look at the issue that he’s trying to quiet in the first place. And in the same way, he often doesn’t want to take a close look at the affair for that very same reason. And, if he perceives that the affair is providing relief, he often isn’t immediately able to see what’s really happening or to see that this just isn’t the answer.
It’s often not until he has a bit of time and distance to see things more clearly that he begins to understand just how wrong he truly was. Now, sometimes some external circumstances might help to speed up this process. Sometimes, he comes to see that the woman he’s having an affair with just isn’t who he thought she was. Sometimes, the other woman will end the relationship. Other times, the husband’s wife will found out about the affair and at that time it becomes very clear what a big mistake this has been.
And sometimes, when the husband begins to see how many people his actions have hurt or affected, he might also sort of snap out of his self centered attempt to deal with his problems. But here’s the catch 22 with this whole situation. Unfortunately, most of the time, the husband will need to “come to his senses” or to snap out of this behavior on his own. This leads me to my next point.
Since He’s Likely In Self Preservation Mode, You’ll Often Have Better Results If You Allow Him To “Come To His Senses” On His Own: Here’s something that isn’t always clear at the time. A man who is having an affair usually is already in justification mode. What I mean by this is that he’s somehow been able to justify his actions in his own mind. So, as right and as justified as you might be to do so, when you come at him full of accusations of how wrong he was, how stupid he is being, and how much he is hurting your family, you must realize that his self preservation mode might mean that he’s going to block out or argue with much of what you are saying.
I’ve even seen some men use the wife’s actions in this situation as justification for the affair. You’ll sometimes hear things like: “see, this is what I have to deal with. She’s so angry and accusatory all of the time that you really can’t blame for me for wanting a small escape.” By no means am I defending this mind set, I’m just trying to bring your attention to it in the hopes that you might reconsider if you think that you’re going to shame or convince your husband to “come to his senses” before he makes the decision to do so.
He will usually do that on his own. And, if you present yourself as a person of integrity and focus on your own needs and issues right now rather than his, you’re going to be in a much better position when he finally does wake up because you never said anything that you’ll regret and you’ve never given him any ammunition to use to justify his own faulty actions.
By no means am I saying a man who has an affair should be given a free pass until he wakes up and faces reality. But, I am trying to give you some insight into how he might be thinking right now. Often, with a bit of time and distance, he has the ability to see this issue more clearly, especially when it turns out (as if often does) that the affair doesn’t really fix his core problem that he was trying to escape in the first place. Once this becomes obvious, he usually has no choice but to look at the issue with out the veil of the affair.
Some wives grow tired or waiting or don’t want to give him the benefit of time and this is certainly valid and understandable. But many men do eventually come to their senses, although it isn’t always in the time frame that the wife was hoping for.