My Husband Cheated on Me
My Husband Cheated on Me
How to Recover when You Discover Something You Wish Weren’t True
When your worst fears are confirmed and you find out your husband has cheated, it’s completely devastating.
News of that betrayal likely brings up fury, deep hurt and even hopelessness.
To make things even worse, he may try to deny it or react with hostility at the mere accusation of cheating, even though–or maybe because–he is guilty as charged.
It’s normal to want to punish him so he knows how much he hurt you.
It’s also normal not to know what to do. You don’t want to feel like a fool, and you already do.
Some friends will tell you to leave him as soon as possible, that his crime is unforgivable.
But what if you’re not ready for life as you know it to end?
What if you want to keep your family together?
1. Ask Yourself if You Want to Stay Married
Yes, he’s a complete jerk and a terrible person right now. You might wonder why anyone would want to stay married to someone like that.
But it’s not always easy to throw away the man you committed to for life in front of God and everybody.
There were a lot of good reasons you married him, and with all that time invested there may be even more reasons to stay with him.
Maybe you don’t want your kids to have a broken home.
Maybe you don’t believe in divorce, or maybe you just don’t want one.
Maybe you still love your husband.
Or maybe, under the mountain of pain you’re feeling, is the inkling that this is all a mistake and the man you truly belong with is deeply confused but the story isn’t over and you can somehow put things right.
Maybe you have faith despite this terrible blow. I admire that.
If the answer to the question “Do I want to stay married to him?” is yes, that doesn’t make you crazy or stupid. It makes you courageous.
If the answer is no, that is also completely understandable. I can see why you feel that way. This is probably not the blog for you, but I wish you well with your divorce and I’m sorry for the pain you’re in and for the loss of your family.
2. Ask Yourself Again Tomorrow
Now that we have that settled, it’s not really settled. The same question will probably come up again tomorrow, more than once.
That’s okay–you can keep asking yourself what you want as a way to stay tuned into your deepest desires so you can follow them.
One woman who repaired her marriage despite her husband’s ongoing affair asked herself if she wanted to stay married to her husband on the day she found out and every day thereafter, until he came back to her 18 months later.
For her the answer was always yes, and today her marriage is stronger than ever.
The point is that you don’t have to decide once and for all. You can make your choices as you go along, knowing that there will be plenty of ups and downs in your journey.
It’s your indisputable right to change your mind. You’re not trapped in this marriage–you get to choose it every day.
Keep tuning in so you’ll know how you feel and what you want.
3. Kick and Scream and Cry (but Not at Him)
Of course you’re hurting and angry and sad! It’s a big deal to find that the ground you’re walking on isn’t as solid as you once believed.
Those excruciating feelings deserve to come out and have their day in the sun, but your husband doesn’t need to be the one who witnesses them.
Get a relationship coach, join my Facebook group, write in your journal, or tell a bartender or your AA sponsor, your rabbi or priest the whole sad story.
Your feelings are valid. You’re hurting and you’re human. We all need to be heard and understood–especially you, especially now.
Having some safe outlets will help you avoid blowing up or melting down at your husband.
Your instinct may be that he deserves those blowups and meltdowns.
But it’s not him I’m concerned about right now; it’s you I’m thinking about.
My blowups and meltdowns were a release in the short run but never made me feel better in the long run. I ended up with an emotional hangover and the remorse of knowing I couldn’t take any of it back. I didn’t feel very dignified either.
Even though I wanted to let my husband have it, I didn’t like who I became in those moments, and they never got me closer to the kind of marriage I wanted.
4. See the Possibilities
You could also share your feelings with close friends or family, but consider doing so cautiously. When you share the hurtful things your husband has done, often those closest to you, who want to protect you, will say “You should leave him.”
One woman asked her husband to leave only after several friends told her she should, but she came to regret that decision when she realized that what she wanted most was to save her marriage.
I’ve heard from many women who regretted telling their husbands to leave but never from one who regretted letting him stay.
I have also heard from many women who have used the 6 Intimacy Skills to restore her marriage to playful and passionate after an affair. Even when the cheating husband wasn’t ready to stop. Even though he said he he didn’t love her anymore. Even when he insisted he was divorcing her.
These women report their marriages are better than ever and that the cheating does not define their marriage because their connection and commitment are now so strong.
That’s possible for you too. You may feel powerless right now, but so much of what happens in your marriage as a result of this crisis is up to you.
As Norman Vincent Peale wrote, “No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities–always see them, for they’re always there.”