You’d think that after an affair was discovered, your husband or wife would do everything to make amends.
You wouldn’t think he or she would be angry with you. However, as a marital therapist with thirty five years experience, I am afraid it is all too common.
So—how to deal with an ANGRY and dismissive partner?
If this sounds familiar, you are probably dealing with someone with “Affair Brain”.
This is the rationalising, justification, minimising, compartmentalising, shutting-down of difficult topics which allows people to be unfaithful.
I call it how they cheated. You’d think when the affair bubble bursts – and they are found out – it would go but NO it takes a while to get out of the system. So what do you do?
Imagine that you are dealing with someone who is drunk. You don’t take too much notice of what they say – they are under the influence. You certainly don’t waste your breath arguing with them. Treat Affair Brain in a similar manner:
I have a different take on that.
If that’s how you feel, I’m sorry but I have another viewpoint.
Another tactic is to ask questions:
How is that going to work?
In love with the buzz
Remember—he or she loves the way the affair (or Adultery Partner aka AP) makes him or her feel. People who have affairs think they are in love—but they are in love with the buzz.
Former alcoholics say I thought I needed the drink. People on the other side of Affair Brain realise they thought they needed the AP, they had a special connection—but it was an illusion.
Here is a typical question about dealing with an angry husband:
Whenever I try and ask him about the affair, he says he feels like it’s a hostile interrogation. He’ll do anything to get out of the conversation, including making threats, and telling me there’s no hope for us.
My answer: How long does the questioning go on for? How far into discovery are you? It is probably natural at this stage in your recovery. But you can make it easier by agreeing to a fixed period beforehand – for example half an hour (and sticking to it).
If he feels claustrophobic, say OK. Offer a break for a cup of tea and come back to it. When the time is up, thank him and tell him what has been useful. In this way, he gets a reward and can see the benefit (even if he doesn’t feel it).
And another typical question about an angry husband:
He doesn’t want his actions “pulled to pieces”. How can I cope with that when I’ve got so many questions about what he’s done?
My answer: Ask him to explain what he means by “pulled to pieces”’? Explain what you are trying to achieve and ask him how he thinks the two of you can achieve that goal.