Q&A How Can I Communicate to My Wife That I Wasn't ‘Using’ Her during the Affair?

To watch the video please purchase a subscription to the Recovery Library.
To watch the video, please purchase a subscription to the Recovery Library.
Gain unlimited access to over 1,800 articles and expert Q&A videos.
Already a Recovery Library member? Log in to listen to the full recording.


I had multiple affairs over the course of seven years. One affair was physical and emotional. The others were purely physical or one night stands. My wife and I are nine months from D-Day and two months from another D-Day where I disclosed more information but no additional affairs. We have gone through EMS Online, we continue to read articles, and we’re working together toward healing and reconciliation. During my affairs I still had a functioning relationship with my wife. We still got along, and we had sex. I truly led a. double life and successfully compartmentalized the two. She and I had emotional intimacy problems and other marital problems, but I felt love for my wife, and I wanted to be close to her, affectionate with her, and I wanted to make love to her. All the while I wanted to maintain this other life of an affair with another woman. I realize this was a horrible and completely unjustifiable thing to do. I in no way defend my actions. The question I have is that my wife doesn’t accept that I could want to be close to her, and want to be intimate with her and sexual with her, and at the same time be in an affair with someone else. She insists that I was “using” her, that she was simply “one of my whores”, and that I just cast her aside when I was through with her. She insists that that’s all she was and that it is not possible for her to have been anything else to me during the affair years. Which one of us has the faulty thinking? Me or her? What do we do?



RL_Media Type: 

Rick did not answer the

Rick did not answer the question being asked: Did the unfaithful use the betrayed over the seven years of adultery?
For someone to make a serious, life long commitment to their spouse to love them forsaking all others and then break that commitment and find physical and emotional love with another person/persons, all the while betraying and lying to to keep the spouse where they want them, because they are still receiving some fulfillment from the spouse also is the very definition of using someone. Lying to someone, betraying someone is taking away their liberty to choose the life they want to live, and imposing on them the life that you want them to live for you. You are the dictator and are forcing them to be married to a liar, betrayer and adulterer. Rick says that this spouse was not "loving his wife well", and though he was committed to stay, he was not committed not to stray. I disagree. Love is an action, not a mere feeling. It is honoring the promise that you made to another, sacrificing and desiring to put their needs above your own. Having feelings of love for your spouse and "making love" to them when you're with them, while simultaneously having feelings of love for and "making love" to another woman when you're with them is not love. It is the very essence of using both women to fulfill your needs, while never having to really love either one. And this husband, being a Christ follower, makes him even more aware of the definition of love according to God's Word. It's interesting that he didn't bring God's perspective into this question, and neither did Rick. I believe God would say that the reason why adultery is a sin, is because it makes a mockery of what he intended to be a model of His love for His bride, sacrificial and unconditional. It destroys the lives of all who are involved, and in it there is no love, no sacrifice, no commitment. There is only self love and self fulfillment. It is the love that Satan preaches. It is death.

Using another

When you are betraying your wife with another woman, making your wife believe by your words and actions that you are being true to your vows to her and to God, you are using her. Yes, you may have "feelings" of love for her while you are with her, but if those feelings conveniently disappear when you are with your adultery partner, and you indulge your "feelings" of love for the adultery partner, then you do not have the kind of love that you promised to your wife. You have a love that "loves the one you're with", and though that may psychologically be a legitimate form of love, that's not the form what your wife and you committed to when you made your vows. Rick's idea that the husband kept part of his commitment, in that he chose to stay, but not to stray, undermines the entire institution of marriage as God intended. Vows do not include the idea that we may may stay but not stray. I think it would be helpful if Rick would dispel the idea that marriage can include any form of love other than the one that those who marry commit, which is self- sacrifing, action based, and never includes any form of romantic love for another. True, no one can tell this husband what his feelings were, but they also cannot tell his wife that because she could not do what he did, she cannot understand that he did have feelings of love for her. What he can be told that the love he "felt" for his wife, was not the love that he promised his wife nor the love that he was receiving from his wife. His love was couched in lies me betrayel and manipulation to keep her where he wanted her to be for his needs. He was cake eating with the bride of his youth and other women. Though he may have had some cheap fly by night love, because he was feigning the exclusive love that he promised his wife, and that he was receiving from his wife in her ignorance of his double-life, he was using her. It shows an inability to put the shoe of the other foot to know the wife's side and truly understand the extreme level of using that adultery defines. Why does Rick not address this issue, but instead justifies the husbands "feelings" of love?

Using her love

I find these responses often tend to justify the warped belief/behaviors of the unfaithful.

What type of affair was it?

Our free Affair Analyzer provides you with insights about your unique situation and gives you a personalized plan of action.
Take the Affair Analyzer

Free Surviving Infidelity Bootcamp

Our experts designed this step-by-step guide to help you survive infidelity. Be intentional with your healing with this free 7-day bootcamp.
I would highly recommend giving this a try.
-D, Texas