You would think that when your husband is caught cheating, he would realize that he is no position to negotiate. Ideally, he would panic at being caught, apologize profusely, vow to give you whatever you need, and walk the straight and narrow from that day forward.
However, many cheating husbands try to push their luck a little. They may realize that there is something that you want. And they know that there is something that they want. And so they will try to negotiate or strike a deal.
One example is the husband who will try to tell his wife that sure, he will break things off with the other woman, but only if she will agree to take him back first. This leaves the wife in a tough position. Of course she wants him to end the affair, but why does she have to give him this guarantee? She might say: “I finally got my husband to admit that he has been cheating. He has denied it for months, but I knew that he was lying. I kept at him until finally one day he left his phone on the counter. Even after confronted with texts, he continued to deny it. But then I told him that I was going to call the number back and he finally admitted to it. I kicked him out of the house. And I told his parents. And they were so furious with him that they would not let him stay with them. I told mutual friends and he is not welcome to stay there, either. He is staying with his brother. They have a very difficult relationship. So my husband is very unhappy with his new living arrangement. In the three weeks that he has been gone, he has called me every day begging me to take him back. I asked him if it was over with the other woman and his response was: ‘it will be if you take me back.’ I asked him to clarify. He said that although he has not seen her since I caught him, he has not officially told her that he can’t see or talk to her anymore. He says he is willing to do that once I take him back and let him move back in. He hasn’t come right out and said this, but it seems like he’s keeping her on the hook in case I don’t take him back. That way, he won’t be alone. Honestly I don’t know that I am ready to take him back. I feel like he is rushing me and almost blackmailing me to take him back before I am ready. I want to see a lot more remorse first. And I want to know that he’s willing to end things with her regardless, because it is the right thing to do. Is this too much to ask?”
I certainly don’t think that it is too much to ask. The truth is, there is no guarantee for your marriage after an affair. No one knows how it is going to turn out. Some couples who vow to stick together and work things out don’t make it. The resentment and pain is just too much. Or one spouse just can’t let it go. And then couples who seem as if they are one hundred percent destined for divorce pull through and actually revamp their marriage.
The thing is, it is hard to know which category you are going to be in right in the beginning. You haven’t even yet tried to heal. You haven’t yet tried different things that might help you. So you have no point of reference and you certainly can’t make him any promises only three weeks after the affair was discovered. It seems to me that he is asking way too much way to soon. Yes, I am biased, but I think that most women would agree with me.
Of course, he doesn’t want to willingly understand this because he doesn’t think that it is in his best interest to do so. He wants to come home as soon as possible, so he is going to use whatever currency he thinks that he has. And he probably believes that what you want most is to know that it is over. If this arrangement is not acceptable to you, then you must tell him.
You might try: “I’m not comfortable with this. It would be rushing your homecoming by negotiating something that should happen anyway. But this I mean that in order to show good faith and a commitment to our marriage, you should break it off with her anyway. If you love me and are committed to our marriage, then I should not need to convince, shame, or negotiate you into breaking it off. As far as coming home, that should not happen until we are both comfortable with it and we have made significant progress. It has only been three weeks, so it is not even remotely possible that we could have made that much progress so soon. I need to see real progress and real good faith before I even consider your moving back in. Recovery after an affair is not a process that happens in three weeks. And you can’t pretend that it has just because you want to come home. Breaking it off is your decision. But I need you to make the right one regardless of your living status. I can’t even consider saving our marriage if she is still in the picture – no matter where you live.”
This should have to make things very clear to him. Any man who is serious about his marriage should not hesitate to break it off once he sees that you are not willing to negotiate. If he doesn’t, well then, that is a different type of information to tell you where his commitment currently lies.