I sometimes hear from wives and mistresses (or “other women”) alike who ask about the cheating husband’s behavior during the affair. One behavior that tends to overlap for both subsets of people is that of crying. Both the wife and other woman might want to know why they are seeing tears while the husband is carrying out or talking about the affair.
The other woman might say: “the first time that I ever slept with the guy that I am dating, he started to cry. I was naive enough to think that he was touched by what we shared, but now I have realized that he cries often when we are together. Recently, his child texted him while he was supposed to be at work. He was missing his child’s event and was with me instead. Then he started crying. Sometimes when he talks about his children or even his wife, he will tear up. It’s starting to dawn on me that all of this emotion has much more to do with his family than it has to do with me. But if he’s so broken up about his family, why would he be cheating with someone else? I do not understand that at all.”
On the flip side, once the affair is found out, you might hear a wife say: “my husband has always been pretty stoic, but we almost can not have a conversation about his affair without him turning into a blubbering mess. He will try to explain or to give me an answer about the affair, but then he will just start sobbing. At first, I thought that this was a tactic to just get out of answering my questions. But sometimes, I will actually catch him staring into space or interacting with the kids and he has tears in his eyes. This is a bit annoying to me. I can’t find it in me to feel sorry for him. If he did not want to feel this kind of pain, then he should not have cheated. What are the crocodile tears all about it? Why is he crying all of the time?”
I can only offer my theories. I’m female and have never cheated on my spouse. But I know people who have been unfaithful, including my own spouse. So I think that I have a decent handle on the thought process that goes into this and the feelings that come to the surface afterward. In my opinion, the tears are so many things rolled into one – they are guilt, shame, disappointment, and fear. The husband is crying because he knows that he is better than this. He knows that he has let down the people who he loves the most and involved another human being (the other woman) and brought her down with him. He is crying because it hurts to look into the face of the family that he has put at risk. It hurts when you have no answers to give that will make this okay again. It hurts because you did this when you didn’t have to. You did this out of nothing but weakness and poor impulse control.
Do you remember when you were a child and were caught doing something that you knew was absolutely forbidden for a very good reason? You probably cried hot tears of guilt and sorrow. And when you were carrying out the act, you likely felt a sinking, sick feeling in pit of your stomach because you knew that your actions were very wrong and yet, you still kept doing them. This is the same feeling that your husband is experiencing now.
I’ve heard people say that the husband is just acting while crying and trying to elicit sympathy. But frankly, I don’t know many men (other than professional actors) who are so skilled that they can pull off real tears over a long period of time just for show.
Does this excuse him? Absolutely not. But if you want to save your marriage, I find this to be a good sign, although it can be hard to watch. It means that he feels remorse. It means that he knows that what he did was very wrong. And it will hopefully also mean that he wants to avoid feeling this type of pain again. I’m sure that it’s quite embarrassing to be a crying mess in front of both your spouse and the other woman. This will hopefully be motivation for him to become rehabilitated so that he does not repeat this behavior ever again.
With this said, the wife gets to decide how she wants to react to this. She may decide that it is too little / too late. Or she may decide that because of his remorse and his motivation to make this right, she might give him a chance. It’s important to remember that she is also in a lot of pain. No one needs to make an immediate choice about the course you want to take. Since your husband is the one who cheated, he will have to wait for you to decide. I hope that this article has been helpful. The tears are usually several negative emotions – guilt, shame, frustration, etc. all tied into one.
by Katie Lersch