He hoped you would never find out.
After you have confronted him about the cheating, you may wonder what he is feeling. Since he has betrayed your love and trust in such a painful way, you may find it hard to believe anything he is saying.
As someone who specializes in extramarital affair recovery, I want to tell you what I have heard many men say. Since I have heard it repeated so often, I have come to believe these truly represent what most men are feeling.
1. He hoped you would never find out.
This may not be as hard to believe as the others though some men have not even covered up their tracks very well. Yet at least as men enter these relationships, they tend to assume that they can keep it undercover and not hurt you.
2. He wants you to believe he didn’t intend for things to get out of hand.
Many times affairs evolve from casual work interactions together to a playful friendship over lunch to a much deeper kind of sharing. At the beginning, a romantic/sexual relationship truly may not have been part of his plan.
In the beginning, many men do not perceive their behavior as an affair. Only when it becomes sexual do they recognize they have crossed the line.
At the same time, marriage counselors tend to agree that most women are more pained by the intimate sharing than men recognize. For women, the openness (especially if there is talk about how the marriage is not working), represents a deep betrayal of what should have been “between us.”
3. He can’t believe that he’s done this.
You may be totally surprised that this person whose values you have trusted could have such a breach of character. For many men as well, they wake up out of the trance state of the thrilling “in love” aspect of the affair relationship only to be genuinely stunned that they have gone against their own values in this way. Not only are his friends surprised, but your man is, too.
4. He is blown away by how much pain he has caused you.
You are experiencing more pain than you have at any other time in your life. The tsunami of feelings will crush and overwhelm you. Believe me here, men do not easily comprehend how deep the kick to the stomach is that you experience each and every time you think of his betrayal.
Here’s where good relationship counseling can help. Someone experienced in this area can help your mate appreciate that your response to the impact of his betrayal is entirely predictable and normal, even though he didn’t expect it to be so extreme.
5. He wishes you could move beyond it and stop bringing it up.
Over and over men will say to me that they just want their wives to move on and focus on what could be built between them now. You may need to talk about the affair in the middle of the night. But he may have a profound sense of “Do we have to talk about it now? We are both too tired to talk intelligently about anything.”
6. He does not know what to say when you want to go over it again.
The problem is that you are feeling like a police officer who wants to go over the story many times to see if you have all of the details and if he changes his story. You naturally have doubts that you have the whole story when he had so much trouble revealing the full picture truthfully in the first place.
Most guys feel like they have tried to dredge up all of the details. They cannot believe that telling you anything more will help you feel grounded. Instead with each new detail, they imagine you will just feel more hurt, anger and rejection.
What they do not realize is that his having the courage to tell the whole story is a step toward helping you trust rather than him seeming to continue protecting the other woman.
He can see your pain but he may not know what will lead to you feeling reassured. You have to look for that together.
7. He feels interrogated and wishes he could defend himself (and knows he can’t).
On the one hand, he even wants to blame you for some of what has happened. Yet he may recognize that any hint of taking less than full responsibility will look like he’s trying to deny what he has done and the pain his actions caused.
In the initial stages, he knows he must constantly take full responsibility for the steps he has taken to reach beyond the betrayal and restore the promise of renewed fidelity.
However, over time, you both need identify the many factors (on both sides) that made your marriage vulnerable to the possibility of cheating in the first place. Otherwise, you remain clinging to a victim role rather than exploring the possibility of positive changes that can happen now in order to rebuild trust.