The knee-jerk reaction might be to kick him out of the house as far as you can send him. But is that always the right decision? While each case of infidelity is different, here are 6 things to think about if you catch your husband cheating.
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You will feel hurt. You will feel angry. You will feel sad.
Feel those feelings. Cry, wail, go for a drive and scream in your car. Feeling the pain is the first step in the healing process. Talk to a trusted friend or family member. Cry on their shoulder. Then, once you feel like you can, talk to your husband. It might be tough but resist the urge to throw things at him, curse, or act crazy.
As Dr. Find a counselor who shares your values and who understands that marriages can thrive after infidelity. Look for someone who will not only help you process your heartache but will also help you understand how to establish new behaviors in your marriage that can benefit you and your husband. If you can get your husband to counseling, involve him too. But if you need to process without him there, schedule appointments for just yourself. Your marriage can be redeemed. There are no sins that cannot be forgiven.
However, there can be no reconciliation without genuine repentance. My friends agreed. Then, one night, when my husband was away on a business trip with his assistant, I tried to reach him and I couldn't. Suddenly, I just knew. There's no other way to describe it.
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I tried to convince myself that I was being paranoid. But the next day, when he finally answered his phone, I demanded the truth. And he gave it to me—partly. They kissed once. Well, more than once, he reneged. I insisted he come home immediately if he had even the tiniest bit of hope of salvaging our marriage. He did. While he drove the few hours back, I walked around our house wringing my shaking hands like Lady Macbeth. I was in shock. Over the next few days, the full story eventually trickled out. My husband confessed that he had been having an on-again, off-again affair for four years.
Like so many who discover a partner's betrayal, my emotions were all over the place.
I would shake my husband awake at 3 a. Why did you do it? Weren't we happy?
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I'd vacillate between rage and exhaustion. Every day, I was trying to be the best mom I could, while also trying to finish the last chapter of my book, which my editor was getting increasingly impatient over. So I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Because here's what no one tells you about infidelity : It's so bring-you-to-your-knees devastating that kicking him out is the last thing you have the energy to do. It takes everything you've got to just breathe, to stem the bleeding, to tuck your kids into bed at night without curling up beside them weeping.
But I couldn't let them see me like that. Because we didn't tell our children. They were too young. I figured they would find out eventually when our marriage fell apart, though I couldn't imagine telling them the whole story.
8 Tips for Coping When Your Partner Is Unfaithful
Kick him out? Maybe later. But right now?
Right now, you just need to figure out how to get dressed for work, and make lunch for your preschoolers, and cancel the dentist appointment that you can't imagine going to with an affair-sized boulder in your gut. I hardly told anyone about my husband's affair, except my mother, who asked me one question: "Do you love him? But I didn't have the energy to fight for my marriage. I felt like I was fighting for my life. I lost weight, enough that people who'd previously said I looked "great" began to ask if I was OK. I didn't tell them what was going on.
I couldn't bear the pity or the scorn. That's another part of cheating that we don't talk about enough. Often times, people assume that if a man cheats, that means his wife was a shrew , a nag. She let herself go. The other woman was sexy and interesting. He was trading up. Which is why it's so shocking to so many of us that our husbands cheated with someone who looked… well, ordinary.
Because here's yet another thing nobody tells you about infidelity: He didn't cheat because there was something wrong with you, or even your marriage. He cheated because there was something wrong with him. And he thought he could find the answer in the fantasy of an affair. I went to a therapist who urged me to give myself as long as I needed to sort this out, and to learn to trust myself.
Trust myself? It took me four years to realize that my husband was having an affair. How could I ever trust myself?
8 Tips for Coping When Your Partner Is Unfaithful
Six months after he admitted to the affair, my husband made an off-hand remark about visiting a strip club with a colleague several years prior. I wondered. My husband didn't visit strip clubs. Or did he? It turned out, it wasn't just his assistant. There were others.
One of the most difficult decisions to make in marriage
He'd had this problem long before he'd even met me. He was in therapy for sex addiction, he told me, curled up in the fetal position. His hands were covering his face as if to both contain his shame, and to protect himself from my anger, my shock, my disgust. Suddenly, I looked at this man—my children's father—and felt… pity.