Why am I not more angry about my husband’s cheating?
Sometimes I hear from wives who are very surprised by their husband’s reaction after he is caught having an affair. Many had assumed that if they ever found out that her husband was cheating on them, they would be absolutely furious. When this does not happen or if this does not happen, they may be quite confused as to why this occurred.
I heard a wife say, “My husband came to me and admitted to having an affair. He said he couldn’t live in secret anymore and wanted to tell me before I found out and ended our marriage. He promised to end things with the other woman and he was crying and going on. For a while, I just sat there in silence because I had no idea how to react. I was so shocked I was speechless. I figured the anger would come, but so far, it hasn’t. Honestly, I’m a little stunned. There’s some sadness. And there’s definitely some disappointment. But I’m not really angry. At least not yet. Does this mean anything? Does my lack of anger mean my marriage is over? Does it mean I don’t love my husband?Does that mean I feel guilty for letting go of my marriage and myself?
These questions were really difficult to answer. I have a few theories as to why she might not feel the anger that she expected. I will discuss some of them below.
Sometimes anger comes with the passage of time: The wife was right to suspect that she was probably surprised. Sometimes you are so stunned that a strong emotional reaction is not possible because it ends up being delayed. Sometimes things will seem pretty calm and flat and then seemingly out of nowhere you will suddenly feel the fury you have been waiting for all along. And sometimes, this anger comes out when you least expect it. I can remember feeling utter fury at my husband at times when he was actually being sweet and trying to make it up to me. I remember feeling that I would have loved his behavior if he didn’t doubt it. Because for a while after the affair, I always wondered if his sweetness was really sincere. And then I would be angry with him for creating the situation. Sometimes recovery brings mixed feelings. In fact, you’ll be happy in the moment, and then suddenly you’ll remember the adventure and suddenly be angry and disappointed again. This is unfortunate but normal.
Some wives are just numb. And Sometimes, This Is A Defense Mechanism: Sometimes I hear from wives that they are just numb. They use that they don’t feel much of anything. Sometimes you close yourself off from your feelings because they are hurtful and troublesome. Perhaps subconsciously, you worry that if you let your feelings out, they will be painful and overwhelming. Your thoughts may tell you that if you let go, you could end up in a fetal position on the bedroom floor. But if you stay numb, at least you can function. Not only that, but staying numb allows you to feel like you’re in control. And when your husband has an affair, you can feel a real loss of control. After all, you did nothing wrong. But as unfair as it is, you can feel like you are now at the mercy of his actions. This can leave you feeling like your life is a mess and out of control through no fault of your own. But, if you can at least control your feelings or keep them in check, this can sometimes feel empowering. The problem, of course, is that if you don’t release your feelings, they will build up and grow until they begin to manifest in a negative way.
If you are still involved in your marriage, find constructive ways to release any anger you may have: Many wives suspect that they are not angry because they simply do not care about their husband or their marriage, since he jeopardized those very wedding vows. I suppose this is possible, but I often have my doubts about it. Even if you’re no longer sure of your husband or your marriage, it’s normal (and even healthy) to get angry when someone hurts and betrays you.
That’s why I think journaling can be helpful when you’re worried about your feelings or lack thereof. Just write whatever comes to mind, and you’ll often find that eventually it all pours out. And when it does, it’s such a relief.
Many wives ask me if they should try to force their anger out or even worry about it. I don’t think it’s healthy to force anything. But I do think it’s better to be open, still, and allow any feeling to come as it pleases. Dealing with an affair is difficult. You don’t need to evaluate or apologize for anything you feel or don’t feel.
So, to answer the question posed, a lack of anger after an affair can mean a few different things, including a need for control, a numbness, or a delayed reaction. But it certainly doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or that any of this is your fault. And it doesn’t always have implications for your marriage or your ability to save it.