I sometimes hear from people who are want to save their marriage after infidelity, but who are very concerned that their spouse is not yet “over” the other person – even when their spouse insists that there is nothing left to the cheating relationship.
Many men like to claim that the affair meant little or nothing to them, but women have a hard time believing this. A wife might say: “my husband had an affair with a woman who he went to high school with. He saw her at his class reunion which I did not attend because of other obligations. They were not old flames or anything like that. Apparently alcohol was involved and then after the sex they carried on with an online and text affair. They were only together that one time. My husband is telling me that he did not really care deeply for this woman. But reading some of their texts makes me question this. My husband is claiming that he can just end the relationship immediately. He acts like he doesn’t care enough about her to dwell on it. I question this. I am not saying that he’s lying to me – exactly. But I don’t know how a relationship can be important enough to cheat on your wife over but not so important to discuss it when you end it. I have never had an affair. But I do admit that my first love started texting me a couple of years ago. And just that communication alone became very deep and meaningful. When I told him we couldn’t talk anymore because it just wasn’t appropriate, it quite frankly, broke my heart. It took me months to get over it. But I knew my marriage was more important to me. My mother told me that men get over affairs more easily than women because for men it is more about the sex and for women it is more about the emotions. Is this true?”
Well, I will concede that most people do believe this to be true. I think it’s probably a mistake to assume that men don’t cheat for emotional reasons or can not be emotionally invested in the other person. They do and they can. I hear from men who are emotionally attached in an affair.
My Non-Scientific Perceptions: However, if I’m being honest, I do have to say that it is much more common to hear from a woman who is emotionally invested in an affair and having a hard time letting go than a man. That’s not exactly scientific data – I know. It’s quite possible that women are more comfortable reaching out, as I’m a woman too. But I do hear from a lot more women who know that they need to save their families but who feel strongly that they are in love with the other man and that he understands them more than anyone else. That’s not to say that men don’t feel this way. But I find that for women, it is so important for them to feel heard, understood, and appreciated. They don’t mention sex nearly as much when they talk about the other person. They mention the feelings. They mention the emotions. They mention not wanting to let go.
Men can mention the feelings, but they also mention the physical connection – or the sex. They often mention feeling alive – which is sometimes sort of double speak for the buzz that they get from the novelty of sex with someone new. I don’t want to imply that it is all about sex for men or even that it is all about a relationship with no expectations. Because I don’t believe that either of these things are true. But I do hear a lot of men say that the other woman didn’t make demands of him, while women rarely say this.
And I think that might be part of why we have the perception that men can walk away from an affair more easily. There were no expectations, so what is the harm in just walking away? It’s perceived that men are less likely to look at it in the long term. Many men who have affairs don’t intend to leave their wives. They don’t intend for her to find out. So yes, when they tell you that they can walk away, many of them mean it.
I am not telling you that a man can not fall in love with the other woman and then miss her horribly and mourn when he lets her go. That does happen. But I see it happening less with men than with women. And that might sound stereotypical and it may be because I hear from more women than men.
But it does seem to me that many men are able to move on quite quickly. Once their wives find out and they decide to save their marriages, many have no qualms about ending the affair immediately and totally. And in this case, when the husband was only with the woman one time – it makes sense to believe that perhaps this wasn’t a meaningful, deep relationship.
If you think about, you said that you ended the correspondence with your first love because your priority was your husband. In essence, he may well be doing the same. I know that you want to know if he’s still thinking of her. But in the end, if he chooses to make your marriage a priority and you do also, then this is the best place to turn your attention.