Unfaithful Spouses: Ways to Empathize With Your Betrayed Spouse

Empathize With Your Betrayed Spouseby Sarah P.

If you are an unfaithful spouse, sometimes you have a hard time comprehending the absolutely visceral pain that your spouse goes through after he/she finds out about your affair.

I would like to give you a glimpse into his/her world so that you will understand where the tearfulness and rage comes from.

First, I will give you a window into the world of anonymous betrayed spouses by including some of their own words about their spouse’s affair. That way, you can hear it from the horse’s mouth.

One anonymous, betrayed spouse said, “Infidelity changes who you are forever. It robs you of your past, it makes your present excruciatingly unbearable and it makes your future look hopeless. It strips you of your self-esteem and your self worth. It leaves you naked, vulnerable, and alone.”

Most recently, France’s President, Francois Hollande, had an affair. In an interview with The Guardian, his wife eloquently said, “I felt utterly undermined; insecure in a way I had never felt insecure before. Everything we had built up in our life, the investment we had put into our family, the plans we had for our future, the entire existence we had together, went in an instant from being the solid structure around me to a house of cards that might be about to tumble down, and that I had no idea whether I would be able to rebuild it alone. Worse – and this really was the worst of all – I felt like an outsider in my own marriage.”

But, those are only a glimpse of the never-ending well of pain that your infidelity has caused your spouse. I assume that like most people, you would like to perceive yourself as a nice guy or gal. Well, I will say this: people who are truly nice choose not to have affairs. You see, to be a ‘nice person’, you must behave as a nice person.

So how do you begin to help your spouse recover after an affair? Well, the thing that will serve you well at this time is by developing a deep sense of empathy for your spouse. I will briefly address a couple of the ways to do that.

Get Out of Denial

The first step toward empathizing begins with throwing out all of your denial—all of it. You must put aside all of the excuses and allow yourself to feel sorrowful because you willingly engaged in an act that is the most destructive exploit that a marriage can suffer.

You must drop the excuse that your needs were not getting met. You must drop the excuse that the other woman/man did not mean anything. You must stop side-stepping the fact that you acted selfishly and also willingly performed an act that could be the very death of a marriage.

Here is something to think about that is sobering. Most people would not take the time to harm their worst enemies the way that an affair harms your spouse. So, why would you treat your spouse worse than your enemy?

You must also drop any illusions where you believe that what you did had a ‘romantic’ element. You must especially drop the belief that had you not been married, your cheating partner would have been your ‘soulmate.’ It is not possible to recover from an affair while believing you acted on a missed soulmate opportunity. (In fact, when I hear this from the unfaithful, I just want to spend the rest of my life vomiting on their lap).

The fact of the matter is, a soulmate relationship can only be born out of something good. If you believe in soulmate theory, which is rooted in spirituality, you will also have to believe the whole of soulmate theory. That is, God or “the universe” does not put your alleged “soulmate” in your path while you are married. If you believe this, you are engaging in a very deleterious form of denial. God and/or the universe does not play dice with people’s hearts. So, please do us all a favor and take off your rose-colored glasses. The other person was never better than your spouse and he/she was never worth it.

Put Yourself in Your Spouse’s Place

I am now going to ask yourself to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. Another betrayed spouse gives you a little guidance on how to do this. She says, “If you truly are remorseful, then you will weep for what you have done to your spouse…the one that you promised to love, honor, and cherish. You will put your own feelings aside and do whatever, and I mean whatever, it takes to try and make her whole again. Cheating is wrong. YOU were wrong. There is no way to explain what you did or justify what you did. It matters not what was happening in your marriage…it is irrelevant. Nothing, absolutely nothing justifies cheating…ever.”

In a nutshell, this is really the gist of it. If you want to empathize with your spouse, you must understand that you were fully wrong and put aside all justification. But, you must also realize the gravity of what you done, so that you will truly weep, as you understand that you have killed trust, love, and most of all, you have killed the significance of everything you and your spouse have gone through since your actions have nullified the vows you took on your wedding day.

Only until you understand the harm you have done and you look at that harm in the sober light of day, only then will you begin to empathize with your spouse—and only then can your marriage begin to heal.

 

Opt In Image
The Cheater Must Become the Healer
“Healing from an Affair: A cheater’s guide for helping your spouse heal from your affair”

If you want to discover the 24 healing ‘tasks’ that the unfaithful spouse needs to carry out, then you should check this program out now.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Related posts:

, ,

22 Responses to Unfaithful Spouses: Ways to Empathize With Your Betrayed Spouse

  1. loveheals April 3, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    When I saw the title of this article I was optimistic that it would carefully and respectfully craft the start of a path to empathy by the betraying spouse while not let them off the hook for their hurtful behavior. While I believe that the righteous anger of the injured partner over the affair is appropriate (I come from the perspective of the injured after my man’s numerous affairs) and this article made some good points, things got derailed into hostility here and there.
    Spend the rest of your life vomiting into someone’s lap? Nice people don’t have affairs? I’m not interested in vomiting on a human being (our relationships have been sullied enough by the affair). If we are asking our betraying partners to empathize we must assume that there is a goodness remaining at their core that makes them capable of empathy. Why else would we want to explore healing the relationship with them? Personally, if someone really is not a good or nice person I don’t want the burden of teaching them not to be a sociopath…I would want out. If I stand instead by the principle that we are all a combination of good and flawed then I want my betraying partner to instead lovingly bear witness to my pain and hold sacred space for me while I heal. I want him, on a daily basis, to check in with me, to grow, to study, to shed tears of understanding. Believe me, I give him the business and let him know that his behavior was indeed cruel and harmed me to my core. He needs to know this, and I need to know that he cares enough to bind up my wounds.
    They do have a duty to hold our hands through our labor of healing and accept every tear with kind understanding. We do have the right to express our pain. My hope is that my man and I are able to stand in our circle of love again to hear and see each other as whole human beings. If that isn’t possible it’s time for me to move on. I start with self-compassion.
    Guest Poster, thank you for your willingness to take up this difficult topic. You make some valid points. Sometimes must rail against the ferocity of our injuries. And while we’re at it, I hope to find the grace to make room for us all to heal. That is my prayer.

  2. Shifting Impressions April 3, 2015 at 5:15 pm #

    I got chills reading this as it so precisely describes how I feel!

  3. loveheals April 3, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

    p.s. Lest you think I’m letting my man off the hook, I am not. I am holding his feet to the fire. Yesterday I read a wonderful book by Linda MacDonald called Helping Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair. I wept with gratitude. It brought to mind something I read years ago that said there’s nothing so bad about a marriage/relationship that an affair can’t make it even worse. This little book has been spying on my relationship, my every emotion and I’m thankful because I don’t feel so alone. Someone understands our pain as betrayed spouses. We are not perfect, we are not eligible for sainthood: We are hurting, justifiably so. It’s powerful grief. I am a hospice nurse and I hold space for the dying and their loved ones and bear witness to their lives because that is what they need. And so do we, the aggrieved partners as we work hard to heal.

  4. Untold April 3, 2015 at 9:15 pm #

    Although a few remarks may be extreme. Guestposter does convey the emotion of the betrayed. What we long for after such betrayal is that empathy, that sense that our unfaithful partner understands what they put us through. As such, they treat us with care and respect and tenderness to rebuild what they tore down.

    I just haven’t seen that sustained in my CW. Maybe for a day or two, then dismissal, ignorance, avoidance, denial. Why is that? It sure seems like it is too hard for her to handle what she did.

    Why can they not own up to it? Will they ever feel the depth of pain they caused? We can’t make them feel it can we? So many “techniques” like the 180 are offered? Do any work? I believe the only thing that would get her to feel that pain would be for me to leave or to suddenly pass. Neither are very good for me or my family.

    I guess if the betrayal appears to be over, and we’re getting along OK, then just carry on. Make due. Look past it. Offer it up. It’s our cross to carry. A fitting analogy on this Good Friday.

    • loveheals April 3, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

      Dear Untold,

      I agree with you. My pain is fresh, I cry every day. I lost my job. I was hospitalized, I now suffer from major depression and most days I can barely get out of bed. I miss the me who was once a strong, resilient, productive and happy person. My unfaithful partner was brutal during the affair. He lied every day, ridiculed my anguish and went to great lengths to be with his affair partner who was young enough to be his daughter. She was arm candy. Yes, I want him to feel every bit of my pain in an empathetic way. It is his job to clean up the big mess he made of things. I can only clean up my own side of the street. I have said some terrible things to him because of my pain.
      I don’t feel personally critical of the author. She/he took on the most difficult topic and captured it well for so many. Perhaps the reason I responded so viscerally to the vomit statement is because that is what I feel my man and his affair partner did to what was once our intimate, loving, caring partnership.
      Thank you all for being so brave in sharing your experiences. You have certainly opened some eyes today.
      I wish that more betraying partners would read this web site. Mine does. It’s a start. We’ve had a rough go of it lately. I’m in the worst pain of my life. D-Day was around November 20, 2014.

      • Untold April 4, 2015 at 12:32 am #

        LH – Sorry for your fresh open wounds. if he’s reading that’s a good sign. It unravels their delusion, bursts their bubble. That bubble maintains their oxygen level. Try another site too. Jeff Murrah – Survive your partners affair. He exposes some detailed, obscure but valid elements of affairs. Unafraid to tackle the tough subjects.

        Happy Easter.

        • loveheals April 4, 2015 at 3:55 am #

          Thank you. Your kind understanding is appreciated.

      • Shifting Impressions April 4, 2015 at 2:13 am #

        LH
        you mention numerous affairs. When is enough, enough? To go through this process numerous times is beyond understanding. I’m not sure I would have the strength.

        • loveheals April 4, 2015 at 4:08 am #

          SI, his other affairs happened over a period of about 9 years and then he stopped about 15 years ago. I only knew about 2 of the affairs until recently. Our relationship had grown into something good and wholesome. Then last year he met his EA partner. It was emotionally intense. They didn’t have sex but kissed passionately. He invited her on overnight trips but I discovered the affair before they took it to the next level. He’s remorseful but something isn’t quite right yet. I need him to do more. He doesn’t understand triggers. For instance, there’s a shirt I’m going to ask him to get rid of but haven’t told him yet. That’s coming soon and I’m hoping it will bring a productive and enlightening discussion about triggers.

          • Rachel April 4, 2015 at 8:28 am #

            Loveheals,
            Take the shirt and grow it in the garbage.
            If he questions where it is just say, where did you leave it last?
            DONE!

          • Shifting Impressions April 4, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

            That is a lot to deal with. My heart breaks for you. I am sort of Rachel with the shirt. Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Tabs April 4, 2015 at 1:34 am #

    Untold,

    This post and the previous “Why Some Betrayed Spouses Have a Hard Time Getting Over an Affair” go together. One of the reasons I can’t heal is because I feel my CS “had his cake and got to eat, too”. I haven’t felt any empathy from him in a long, long time. I can’t figure out if he’s in denial (again) or just doesn’t realize the pain he’s inflicted. So when you say the “betrayal is over and we’re getting along OK, just carry on. Make due. Look past it. Offer it up. It’s our cross to carry.” I totally understand where you’re coming from. And, it sucks.

    • Strengthrequired April 15, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

      Tabs, I feel the same way. I find it hard getting past my h affair, because he forsaken me and our marriage as well as our family we created. He doesn’t like to talk about it, he just wants us to forget and move on. How do you move on when you feel so deeply betrayed, while you remained faithful. He had his cake, he ate it too. All at our expense, my health. I can’t help the sarcastic comments either, guess hurt does that to you. I tell him often if you don’t like it go to her. Something that keeps coming to my mind, is how much disrespect he showed me and the love I have for him, I wonder how dos someone that love you do that to you. More and more I feel like this, like I’m no longer in fighting mode, even caring so much. I feel at times I’m even pulling away, because of the extent of his affair, how long it went on for the lies to keep it going, all at the sake of me, as well as our children. Maybe as well because he has been unable to provide me all the answers I needed to heal truthfully without pussy footing around it. It’s strange place to be in when you love someone so much that you find yourself pulling away, probably because of the fear of being hurt again, and possibly lies being revealed in the future that have not come from him but someone else that could possibly break us, set me back to dday, all because he thought he could keep it secret. I think that is where I am, afraid of looking forward to the future.

      • Strengthrequired April 15, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

        You know what I have noticed, my h does not like being told how much of a liar he was during his affair. He gets offended and says ” ohh I’m a liar, ok”. Well yes you were a liar, probably still are, but also a dirty stinking Cheater. That tag is what he wears now. I wish time could erase that fact. Who would want to ever have that tag on them?

        • Untold April 15, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

          Sounds familiar. My w has said “well maybe I’m not really an honest, sincere person”, and “well I guess I’m not a committed spouse”. Then there’s the universal “don’t be so self-righteous” and “I’m not perfect like you”. It’s hard to relate to someone who would say that, much less deal with them in a respectfull manner..

          • Rachel April 16, 2015 at 7:11 am #

            Untold, key word is RESPECT!

          • Strengthrequired April 17, 2015 at 1:53 am #

            Untold, well she isn’t an honest sincere person, and she has shown that her committment isn’t that crash hot either. Just like all of our spouses here. Hopefully for our sakes, that sincere, honest trustworthy and committed spouse we knew and loved doesn’t disappear again.

  6. MM April 14, 2015 at 9:13 pm #

    There is so much more complexity to an affair than is being acknowledged here.

    • loveheals April 15, 2015 at 6:41 am #

      MM, you are correct, it is a complex subject. I think that’s why there are so many books and articles on the topic. It’s limitless, and each person has their own perspective.
      I appreciate the feelings expressed here. Until I could hear and read the words of others who have been there I felt so isolated and forsaken. It’s healing to know that others understand.

  7. antiskank April 20, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    Isn’t it interesting that all of the comments to an article directed toward cheaters are from the betrayed spouses?

    Are the cheaters really interested in doing everything they can to repair the damage? I often feel that my CH, although professing remorse and a willingness to do whatever is necessary – is only following my lead and adjusting his behaviour to mathc, but doing the bare minimum to get by. If I don’t bring up any issues, he sure won’t. As much as we keep hearing that the cheaters don’t like us to keep asking questions, I think we would stop if we ever got the answers we are looking for. For me the lying never stopped. When I wasn’t hearing lies, it was – “I don’t remember”, I’m not sure”, “I don’t know”. I have never had a straight answer to a question and it takes an hour just to get one simple question answered in an unsatisfactory manner.

    As for empathy and a complete understanding of the damage done, the pain caused, the absolute wrongness of the whole affair, I just don’t think it’s there. I am very sure he is sorry that he has to answer questions and sorry that he is now known to be a cheating, vengeful, inconsiderate, disrespectfuil liar, but to feel or understand how I feel – no! I think it is quite possible that he (and some others) still believe that their affair with their “true love” was the real thing, that they gave up a chance at eternal bliss for our benefit and as such feel they are a martyr that has done everything they are willing to do for us. What more could we possibly want?

    I am still trying very hard to get my life and marriage back together and we are playing the “I love you” game and being very nice to each other but there are still issues brewing below the surface that I have ignored just to get a rest from the constant stress. I know that they have to be dealt with and it makes me feel very anxious to go there again.

    How do you trust that this person is now telling the truth? How do you get back the feelings of safety – that he really does love you, desire you, understand you? Is he still comparing you unfavoroubly to his OW and to every hot babe half your age? How do you get the trust back? the love back? the happiness back? the peace and wellbeing of security in your marriage? How do you make the doubts go away? How can you ever feel that you are a couple again? I haven’t felt married or part of a team in so long!

    It is nearly 3 years for me since the first D-Day and I am feeling almost panicked because I am feeling the passage of time with this not “fixed” yet. I am so grateful that I can come to this site and see that I am not alone in having this happen to me but I want to know that there are complete successes afterward, too. In reading some of the comments from the rest of you, I can see that being betrayed has very long term effects. Is it possible to ever feel “right” again? Do any of you truly feel that their CS is back in the marriage 100%? …or am I just so afraid of being betrayed again that I can’t believe it can happen?

    • Strengthrequired April 20, 2015 at 4:20 pm #

      Antiskank, your not alone in your thoughts. It’s been just over three years since dday for me, and I don’t feel safe, secure, as loved as before, I dont believe much of anything my h says, I try, but it doesn’t work. He too doesn’t understand the magnitude of pain he placed on me, the damage caused. I still feel he blames me for his short comings. No blame at all is ever placed on the ow either, by him. So I do often think he still gas feelings, and I have stopped him from being with his one true love, yet I have told him over and over to go be with her. He doesn’t.
      He tells me he can’t talk to me, he still won’t share passwords. I feel like I have put in the effort, each time not much in return, except that ” ohh my lucky stars, he is here”. Sarcasim. I have told him that after more than twenty years of marriage, I feel like he treats me like a stranger in his life. Yes I love him, but love will only take you so far. Instead of me feeling like I have all the work to do to keep working on our marriage, I hope he eventually wakes up, that just because he is the breadwinner, that’s all the work he needs to do, that I should be happy.
      So if you happen to find the answers to your questions, let me know too, please.

  8. TrustingGod April 26, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    Let us all know if you find those answers. It doesn’t help me to know sometimes that other women are getting the same treatment from their husband as I am, when they are further down the road. If, a year and half from now, I still hear, “don’t trust me then,” when I express my frustration at having difficulty trusting and believing him, I feel that all the effort I will have put into the marriage will have been wasted. And I’m starting to get to the point that I am so tired of pretending everything is okay, just so that he doesn’t avoid or stonewall me. I definitely don’t feel like my husband is some martyr for staying with me, entirely the opposite, since last night. I have tried to hold out hope, but all I see is that same minimal effort you’re talking about and zero attempt to understand why I can’t just forget everything, even if I have forgiven. My husband wants to be let off the hook, and just to think about the future, and to be happy now, completely forgetting the past. I had forgotten most of the past until he did this to us. It’s really obvious to me that he only wants me if I will continue to make his life easier by pretending. So now I just want out. Maybe then the nightmares would stop, at least.

Leave a Reply

Login

Web Analytics

Clicky