I often hear from women whose husbands had a long term affair. These women often say that they wish he’d had a one night stand instead. Wives seem to draw the line with their husband’s having an emotional connection or relationship with another woman. Many tell me they would prefer physical cheating to emotional cheating. Plus, the fact that he continued on with the relationship proves that he continued to deceive the wife more than once. He continued on with the relationship even when he knew it was wrong.
Still, some women whose husband’s cheated in a more short term way (or had a one night stand or a one-time discretion) don’t agree. They see their husband as a pervert who was so driven by getting his short-term sexual needs met that he was not thinking about anyone but himself.
I could give you different viewpoints all day, but until you are in this situation yourself, it’s hard to say how you would feel about either one or which you would consider worse. However, in the following article, I will try to offer perspectives from both situations, discuss how they might be different, and tell you which situation that I believe is worse.
Challenges and Considerations That Come With Cheating: As I alluded to, if you have a husband who cheated in the short term, but did not carry on an emotional or long-term relationship with the other woman, at least you aren’t having to worry about his connection with someone else and whether she is still in the picture.
But, you might worry about his impulse control. If he’s that quick to involve himself in a situation like this without thinking, what’s to say that he won’t do it again? Another consideration in this scenario is that many wives worry that any woman or situation is a potential problem. Obviously, he wasn’t picky about the circumstances. It wasn’t that the other woman had anything special, it was just that she was available. So, what does that say about his ability to control himself in the future?
To be fair, plenty of men and couples in this situation have been rehabilitated. And, this often lies in removing the vulnerabilities and placing the proper safeguards in place. This isn’t always easy, but it can be very successful.
Considerations That Make Having An Ongoing Affair Different From Cheating: Of course, the most obvious difference is that with an affair, the cheating continues on. Usually, the husband could have ended the relationship at any point in the beginning, but he often did not. And this will lead the wife to worry that there was something special about the other woman or about their connection that made him risk everything and continue on because he just could not let her go.
It’s very common for wives to envision the worst case scenario here and to be afraid that the husband is not going to be to move on or give up the other woman. Many times, these fears are unfounded. Usually, reality will set in eventually and the husband will realize that the other woman isn’t who he thought that she was. And, many husbands tell me that they never intended to have an affair, but once they were in the situation, they weren’t sure how to get themselves out of it because they were feeling pressure from the other woman as well as their wife.
The most pervasive concern here is that it was ongoing deception. The wife often worries that the husband doesn’t feel the guilt or concern that would make most people stop their actions immediately. So, they worry that he will meet someone else eventually and cheat again or secretly go back to the other woman.
These “worst case scenarios” don’t always happen either. Many husbands are able to completely and abruptly put an end to the cheating and then turn their attention toward saving their marriage. Rehabilitation often lies in restoring the connection, trust, and open communication. It’s not easy, but it’s most certainly possible and countless people do it every day.
So Which Is Worse: Cheating Or Having An Affair?: In truth, both of these have huge challenges and cause a great deal of pain. But in my opinion, the situation that is worse is the one that keeps happening. A repeat cheater is usually going to have a harder time restoring the trust than a husband who had a one-time affair and never again misbehaved. Whether he’s cheating of having a long term affair if you find out and he learns just how much this hurts you and then repeats that behavior, then this means you have a tremendous amount of work to do and he has to be drastically rehabilitated. So, there’s really no need to worry about semantics and definitions.
Both of these situations can be devastating to a marriage and both require hard work to be overcome. But the process becomes much harder when the husband keeps repeating the same problematic behaviors. So, instead of worrying about which one is worse, you are often much better off focusing your attention on how to fix the issues that lead up to this.
There was a time when I thought I would never get over my husband’s affair, but this is in the past. Although I never would’ve believed this two years ago, my marriage eventually recovered and became stronger. It took a lot of work, and I had to play the game to win, but it was worth it. Because of all the work, I did on myself, my self-esteem is at an all-time high. I no longer worry my husband will cheat again. You can read a very personal story on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com/