Tag Archives: cheating in your marriage

Q&A with J: “My Husband Had a Kissing Affair”

I’ve talked about marital infidelity on my blog before (like here and here), but what if your husband didn’t go all the way? What if it was kissing? Check out today’s reader question:

Please help! my husband had a “kissing affair” with a bar tramp over two years ago. I know it didn’t go any further because of everything I know now. he said she was just some cheap easy tramp who paid attention to him at the time. he’s never had contact again and I know he still lives with the guilt. he’s done everything right, I just can’t stand the thought of him kissing me now! … I gag at the thought of letting him stick his tongue down my throat now and I want to move on! HOW can I do this?

blog post title + man's neck and shirt collar with lipstick stain

First off, referring to this woman as a “cheap easy tramp” is total rationalization. Maybe that’s exactly what she was, but it sounds to me like he was easy in that moment too. And it’s all too common for men to claim they were seduced by a loose woman and thus blame her.

It doesn’t matter whether the woman was a dignified colleague he met on a business trip or a woman playing kissing roulette with a bar full of men, your husband needs to own that he decided what to do with his own lips.

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

You can’t make him change his tune, but you can change yours. Stop referring to that woman as a “bar tramp.” Not only do you not know her, and any terrible backstory she might have that made her walk into a bar and kiss a stranger that night, you shouldn’t enable his efforts to transfer blame to someone else.

Is that harsh? I don’t think so. Because while I can honestly say that some guys I dated in my premarital promiscuous past took advantage of me, my sin is entirely my own. I choose to participate, and that’s wholly on me. Until we accept responsibility for our sin, we cannot confess it all and receive full forgiveness available through Christ.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst”  (1 Timothy 1:15).

Now to the primary issue: He cheated on you.

And if someone is reading this and saying, “It’s just kissing,” you’re apparently not alone. In a survey of 5000 people across the United Kingdom, 14% of people didn’t consider passionately kissing someone other than your partner to be infidelity. Although that included 9% of women and a whopping 19% of men.

Now these weren’t specifically married people, but those percentages are astounding. Would you really feel it wasn’t cheating if you came home to find your beloved lip-locked with someone else on your couch? Even if you didn’t consider it adultery per se, it’s clearly a betrayal and on the road to Nothing Good.

But if you turn those stats around, four out of five men and nine out of ten women — not necessarily married — think kissing is cheating. I believe God agrees.

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15, NLT).

However, the husband here recognizes his guilt and “he’s done everything right.” What would those right things be? Here’s a noncomprehensive list:

  • Confess the betrayal
  • Take full responsibility for your choices and sin
  • Apologize for the hurt you’ve caused
  • Take steps to keep it from ever happening again
  • Answer your spouse’s questions
  • Reassure your mate daily of your commitment
  • Give your spouse space and time to return to intimacy with you

So now what? He’s done what he should, and it’s your turn. How do you get past your husband tangling tongues with anyone but you?!

I sat here for a moment thinking how I’d feel if Spock kissed someone else. My teeth clenched, my throat tightened, and I had a sick feeling in my stomach. Shock, sadness, and anger rose up in me. And that’s just from imagining a betrayal that’s never happened.

So my heart goes out to you, reader. I can only imagine, but it is a painful thought.

That said, marriage is far too important to toss out or tear down because of this one confessed, forgiven sin. Beyond forgiveness is reconciliation, and that’s where the struggle is now. So let’s talk about actions to help you move beyond what happened and into deeper intimacy with your husband.

 1. Talk through the event.

Sometimes for closure, we need to understand what happened, why it happened, and what we can do to prevent it from happening again. Ask your husband to join you in calm conversations about why he felt tempted, how his actions make you feel, what you can both do to be there more fully for one another. Discuss practical ways to prevent this temptation from arising again. Does he need to swear off bars? Do you need to go on business trips with him? Should he have a male accountability partner?

Remember as you ask him questions about what happened that he cannot un-tell you what he tells you. You likely don’t need those details that would merely give you a clearer picture to run through your mind. Make sure you what you ask about relates to the goal of getting you past this event and building a stronger marriage.

These discussions will go far better if you keep your cool while still expressing your emotions, concerns, and needs. And be willing to listen to his end and see what you can do to help him avoid any such temptation in the future.

2. Take charge of the kissing.

When you reintroduce physical intimacy after an affair, it’s important to let the betrayed spouse set the pace. You may need to take a break from time to time, breathe through the anxiety, and regather your thoughts before continuing. Having you initiate the kissing can also help you view this as something you want as well as determining how you want it.

Moreover, letting you be in charge shows that your husband respects your feelings — he understands this is difficult and he’s willing to do what it takes to be with you. Will this slower pace be difficult for your husband? Yeah. But it’s worthwhile.

You can start with kissing him in other places besides his mouth, like his hands or his jaw line. As you kiss, remember what you enjoy about being with him, touching him, feeling close to him. Take time to explore, as if you’re there again for the first time. When you feel more comfortable, move to his lips, kissing him in the way you most enjoy. If you need to pause, do so. But then try to get back to it and push past the discomfort. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Train your thoughts.

This is what is really comes down to. Because every time you kiss him now, you can’t get that other woman and what he did with her out of your mind. It’s hovering there in your brain, in your gut, in your heart. But somehow, you’ve got to stop thinking about that night and focus instead on your love for your husband, his love for you, and the kissing you’re doing.

First, recognize that you’re not on opposite sides. Yes, your husband betrayed you, but since he confessed and recommitted to you, your position going forward is a united team fighting against any enemy that wants to attack your marriage. You are one flesh, and “therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9).

Second, use self-talk while you’re kissing to alter your perspective in real-time. Remind yourself that your husband is here with you, that he is committed to your relationship, that you enjoy kissing him. Memorize some scriptures you can use as mantras in your head to fight back when thoughts of the kissing affair pop into your head. For example:

  • [Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
  • We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b).
  • I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10).
  • Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Recognize that it won’t be smooth the first make-out session you have. But what tends to happen over time is new thoughts and new experiences replace old ones and the bad memory loses its foothold in your mind. As that scripture says above, love indeed covers a multitude of sins.

4. Remember how God treats you.

Here’s one last thing that has helped me get over a lot of stuff: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). When I struggle with forgiveness or reconciliation, I think about all the ways I’ve hurt my Heavenly Father, and yet He takes me back every time. Yes, I must be repentant, but He is always faithful to show me grace. That perspective helps me give grace to others.

So how do you over your husband’s kissing affair? Slowly, intentionally, prayerfully. But it will happen, if you both commit to reviving your physical affection and intimacy.

Same pic as above, sized for Pinterest

Forget Josh Duggar: What Ashley Madison’s Client Base Reveals about Husbands

How that’s title for entering the fray?

In case you haven’t heard, Josh Duggar — who got into loads of trouble for past inappropriate sexual behavior with young girls — has now been discovered to be a paid client of Ashley Madison, an online dating site for extramarital affairs. A single Google search shows this is a topic people are tuning into, and I’m sure the opinions range all over the place.

In case you want to know mine, my heart always turns to the children in these situations. Duggar’s behavior is absolutely indefensible, and I don’t care so much about him as I do the four children deeply affected by his choices and whatever happens next. They are the biggest victims, and I simply cannot imagine what it would be to go forth in life with this news story about your father haunting your future.

But enough about Duggar.

What I want to address is what I believe to be the bigger issue: Why does a site like Ashley Madison even exist? Why do men sign up for it? What are they looking for? Why can’t they just stay at home with their wives and be happy?

Forget Josh Duggar: What Ashley Madison's Client Base Reveals about Husbands

From what I’ve learned, the Ashley Madison client base shows a wide range of husband types who signed up for this “service.”

The Curious. Some husbands signed up for an account because they toyed with the idea of having sex with someone other than their wife. Maybe one day, they finally sat down, opened up an account, and paid the fee.

And that was that. They never acted on it, but they were curious. Maybe they still are.

My guess is many are husbands unhappy with the sexual intimacy in their marriage and wishing things were better. In a weak moment, they wondered about getting sexual satisfaction elsewhere, but something prevented them from following through. I hope that something includes moral conscience, commitment to the marriage, and an understanding that the consequences of even a one-night stand are too great for your relationship.

If you’re curious about how an affair would feel, it would likely feel great . . . for a few minutes. But it would betray your spouse, damage your marriage, and cost your integrity. It isn’t worth it!

The Desperate. The founder of Ashley Madison claims to have never cheated on his own wife; however, he confessed, “[I]f I woke up beside my wife and it was the 200th day we hadn’t been intimate with one another and it looked like nothing would change, I would cheat so fast.” While I seriously want to slap this guy (although I think God’s got it covered), there’s something to what he’s saying: Some of the husbands came to the site because they were in sexless or nearly sexless marriages. They felt desperate.

They are still 100% wrong for pursuing sex outside of marriage, but I sympathize with the deep pain of those in sexless marriages. When I hear from such husbands contemplating an affair, what typically comes across is that they really don’t want to. What they long for is the women they’ve chosen, their own wives, to provide the sexual and emotional intimacy they need.

Yet the pain of neglect runs deep, and they feel at the end of the their rope. Here comes a website offering some relief, and . . . Well, it’s not a happy ending. I guarantee that. Instead, those husbands should continue to love, pray, and work toward something better for their marriage. Adultery is not the answer.

The Philanderer. Yes, some men are just cheaters. They’re in marriages with wives who are good to them and have sex with them, and they cheat anyway.

This is one reason why I don’t like the term “affair-proof” — often used to describe how you can make your marriage so great, it will never experience an affair. Listen, you can do a lot to make a marriage affair-resistant, but your spouse still has free will and can choose to cheat.

I hate saying this, because it sounds like these marriages are beyond hope. I don’t think that’s true, because spouses can change with repentance, humility, and godly instruction. But some people just cheat, and building a better marriage is only one part of the equation to change this dynamic — the philandering spouse must admit their folly and desire a different path. At times what helps a cheater get on the right path . . . is getting caught.

I pray all those who take such cavalier attitudes toward their wives and families have light shed on their activities so they can recognize the heartbreak they are causing and turn from their damaging ways. In other words, wake up — your actions are hurting yourself and others.

The Thrill-Seeker. I briefly considered calling this category pervert, but the activities these husbands are pursuing aren’t all perverted. Sites like Ashley Madison ask what specific sexual activities interest a client. I read a few examples, and I believe some husbands are having sex in their own marriage, but they want to do things their wives won’t do. Whether it’s oral sex or a super-kinky what-is-he-thinking? scenario, they’re seeking a thrill they aren’t getting and keep desiring.

Why do they want it so much? They’ve been sold a lie. I’m all over freshening things up in the bedroom and introducing more fun to the sexual intimacy in your marriage, but these guys believe they’re missing out if they don’t get some specific physical activity. Like if they never get a “blow job,” they’ve been shortchanged.

Such lies are promoted even more by the prevalence of porn — that everything would be great in your bedroom if only you had a woman willing to do whatever you wanted.

My advice? Stop watching porn and stop thinking sex is all about the physical. Spend more time building a loving relationship with your wife and deepening intimacy in your marriage bed. Maybe you’ll never get to do Item #12 on your Sexual Wish List, but maybe someday she’ll want to or maybe you’ll realize that item wasn’t so important after all when you’re enjoying the fullness of sexual intimacy with the woman you love.

What does the existence of Ashley Madison say about husbands? That while some are simply cheaters, there are many husbands unhappy with their sexual intimacy and looking for answers.

The answers are not in that website. They are in God’s Word, nurturing your own marriage, and waiting, praying, hoping, and working for something better, real, and beautiful.