I am going through this phase no wife should ever have to go through.
Eight months ago I found out my husband cheated on me. I was disgusted because the woman he was with was a friend of mine and she was the one who spilled the beans. Instead of apologizing or feeling some type remorse, she was angry! She said how I was so naive not to know what was going on and I would be stupid if I let him slide like this. I confronted my husband that night when he came from work. At first he denied it, then, he burst his emotions out. He said it only happened once and how he couldn’t tell me because he didn’t want to break-up our marriage. And, how eventually, she was after him and he kept pushing her away, which is why she told me everything.
I felt so devastated and just wanted to pack my things and go. He insisted I stay and that he truly feels sorry for what he’s done. Fast forward 8 months, and this man has changed a lot. He quit his job and got a better paying one. He helps a lot in the house and we get along so well, even as to say that he has gone as far as to give me his paycheck weekly so I can run our finances and control our spending. I also have control of his phone usage, which shows me all the calls he has made and received (which he doesn’t know). Unintentionally, I found a way to track where he is through his phone – no app was used, just email. From what I see, he holds a clean record ever since. But, there are some days that my mind rewinds back to that day, and things that I see remind me of his infidelity and make me feel as it was yesterday.
My wounds feel fresh and I cry alone every now and then. I have become two sides of myself, the one who wants to leave and start fresh, and the one who wants to stay and forgive. He has become a wonderful husband and a great father to our daughter. But, Terrance, how can I make these feelings go away. I was always the first to say, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” Or, my personal favorite, “You cheat, you’re out the door.” But, could it be possible for a marriage to survive after this, if the husband shows signs of change without pressure from the wife? – Should I Stay or Leave
Dear Ms. Should I Stay or Leave,
Ma’am, I’m sorry that you are experiencing this and going through this turmoil. I know it must be difficult to deal with a cheating spouse, and especially when that spouse sleeps with a friend that you know. It’s not as if it is some random woman, but a woman who was part of your life, and someone you considered a friend. That is a stab in the heart. But, yet, here you are.
I wish I could tell you that you should leave. I wish I could tell you that you should stay. But, the only one who can make that decision is you. Me, nor anyone else can tell you when to leave your marriage, especially if your husband is doing everything to make things right, and is working toward saving his marriage. He’s apologized, and he’s trying to do right and remain faithful in the marriage. But, the pain is still there. Despite your own personal feelings and ethics that if someone cheats, then it’s out the door, and they will do it again. But, you’re still there. So, you have to decide what is your limit? What is your boundary? What is your low? People say what they won’t do and what they won’t put up with, but when put into that situation or faced with that circumstance it’s not easy and nor is it cut and dry.
You’re thinking about your marriage and what you’ve committed to it. You’re thinking about your child. You’re thinking about your families. You’re thinking about your finances, your home, and what you’ll have to go through in the divorce. Will it be nasty? Will it be amicable? But, more importantly, is it worth it to end it and start all over again?
If you are still struggling and you find yourself crying and reliving the pain, then it’s time to get into therapy. I highly and strongly recommend that you and your husband seek couple’s therapy to work on your marriage, and to get to the bottom of what happened. You have questions and you want answers, but I don’t feel you got them from him. Why her? Why cheat? What was going on in your marriage that he couldn’t come to you and talk to you about it? Was it convenience? Was it because he could? He says she kept pursuing him after it happened, so what led her to believe that something more was going to happen? How long had they been talking, and flirting? How long had she been pursuing him, and why didn’t he tell you? There are so many questions and very little answers, and you need these in order to heal.
Besides, your husband needs to know how this has affected you, and how you are feeling. In therapy you can let him know how deeply hurt you are, what this has done to you and your trust of him. How you feel betrayed. How you feel manipulated and deceived. Let him know that you the pain is still there, and you can’t stop thinking about him being with another woman, especially someone you considered a friend. You’re hurting, and until you seek proper healing and deal with the emotions and feelings, then you will continue to relive it over and over again.
However, I do know one thing, that woman should not be in your life in any capacity. She is and was never your friend. She was low down and dirty, and I would consider it a lesson learned. Despite who you think is your friend, and how close you think you are, there are some people you keep at a distance, and out of your marriage, and personal life. She is one of those types of people. It’s sad that someone you considered a friend, and invited into your home would turn around and do what she did. But, it happens. Then, she had the nerve to be mad at you and accuse you of being naïve and clueless as to what happened. You should have slapped the dog -ish out of her. She would know that you are not the one, and she would think twice before she did something like this again.
However, like I said, I recommend therapy, and possibly speaking with your pastor, or spiritual advisor. This is not easy, nor is it cut and dry. You mentioned that it was a one time thing, and he’s working toward being a better man, better father, and better partner. Is this enough for you? Can you forgive and move forward? Do you want to forgive? You have to decide what is your limit and your bottom. Before you make any decisions or move forward get into therapy, see if it’s something you want to work on and mend. I’m sure you will get the answers you need if you talk with a certified licensed third party who can assist you as you navigate this new terrain in your marriage. – Terrance Dean
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Make sure to order my books Mogul: A Novel (Atria Books – June 2011; $15); Hiding In Hip Hop (Atria Books – June 2008); and Straight From Your Gay Best Friend – The Straight Up Truth About Relationships, Love, And Having A Fabulous Life (Agate/Bolden Books – November 2010; $15). They are available in bookstores everywhere, and on Amazon, click HERE!