Finding out about your husband’s affair is likely to send you on an emotional roller coaster as you’re overwhelmed by anger, sadness and confusion. It’s likely you’ll want to learn all about the circumstances of his affair and be tempted to ask many questions about his infidelity. But proceed with caution. Questions often feel like an interrogation and make people get defensive or uncooperative.
Instead of asking questions about all the details, take some time to reflect on why you’re looking for these specific answers and share this with your partner. Some introspection will allow you to have a deeper, more constructive dialog about your relationship, the infidelity, and how you can build trust and can actually recover from the affair.
4 Questions You’ll Want To Ask Your Husband About His Infidelity
1. “Why did you cheat on me?”
This is likely the first question you’ll ask your husband about his infidelity. It assumes three things:
- That you did nothing wrong and hold no responsibility, yet both of you contribute to the marriage dynamic
- That a simple answer exists, even though it’s usually more complex
- That having an answer will make you feel better, but it probably won’t.
Consider your goals in asking this question. Why are you asking it and what answer are you expecting? Ease your way into this conversation by expressing your need for answers in a productive way. Here are a couple of examples of this approach:
“I’d like to understand why you cheated on me because I want to fix the issues in the marriage…”
“I want to know why you had an affair so that I can help repair and prevent a similar situation in the future…”
As you can see in the examples above, you are neither attacking, blaming, or raging. You are stating what you want to know and how having this information will benefit both you and your relationship.
2. "How could you lie to me?"
This is a rhetorical question to which most people wouldn’t fess up since it’s scary. It’s unlikely that your husband made a deliberate decision to lie and have an affair. More likely, it was an emotional decision on his part, not a rational one.
Most affairs occur after a spouse approached their partner multiple times with a particular need that went unmet. Perhaps this need wasn’t expressed effectively enough or the couple wasn’t communicating in the right way. Most people are looking for something outside of marriage when they’re not getting it within their marriage.
In this situation, paint a picture of what you want in a positive manner. Don’t emphasize your husband’s behavior because what’s done is done. Keep it constructive and try to be more forward-looking in your dialog with your husband. It can also help to have an agreement about the future such as:
“I would like to find a way for you to feel comfortable coming to me with your concerns and needs, instead of someone else. In the future, if you have urges to go outside our marriage, I need you to discuss that with me even though it will be painful.”
3. "Do you still want to be married to me?"
This is a very broad question that requires a lot of thought and effort. You will likely not get a helpful answer on the spot. You will need to do the work (both at home and ideally in therapy) to see if you can continue maintaining a healthy, productive marriage. There are no shortcuts or magic wands to wave. Figuring out if you want to stay married is a process and an important one at that.
It’s important to note that 80% of couples who divorce because of an affair regret it later. So don’t go into this lightly. But if you are seriously considering divorce, find a good couples therapist who will work with you as you follow this path.
4. "Who? When? How?"
Spouses are allowed to learn all the details about an infidelity. However, you should only do so once or twice, and then stop rehashing and ruminating. Ask yourself how these details will help you in the moment and in the long run. And then, switch your attention to what will actually help you move forward.
Think of it this way: If you smashed your car into a tree, the police officer will ask you for details about the accident but his goal isn’t to fix your car. On the other hand, the mechanic is less interested in what happened and more interested in what it will take to fix your car. Ultimately you need to get it fixed. So put your energy into finding a resolution rather than getting stuck in a web of details.
How To Recover From An Affair
Affairs can make you feel like you and your marriage got knocked off balance, and you’re now uncertain how to regain your footing. Rest assured there are steps you can take to recover and strengthen your relationship after infidelity.
First, you’ll need to get to a place of calm and cooperation. Progress is difficult when you’re overwhelmed and distracted. Next, focus on improving communication between you and your spouse. Lastly, identify a path forward in your marriage. This will likely require extra support from a couples therapist. To learn how LifeWise marriage counseling can help you begin the healing process, click on the button below.