Wife cheated, should I stay or go

normpattersonFebruary 9, 2008

We have been married for 18 years and I found out my wife cheated early in our marriage. The first time was at year year 6 and the next at year 8. She confessed the affairs to me 3 years ago and I decided to stay and try to work it out. We went to consoling and I thought all was going to be ok. She was very emotional and beg for me to forgive her. I automaticly said I would forgive her, but I think that was because she was so upset. It was my nature to protect her. All this time I have been wondering if I should have left. I love her now as a friend and still care for her, but there is no passion at all on my part. We have two wonderful daughters, 16 & 10.

My wife has now given me the opportunity to take some time apart and see if that will help. She said she wants me to stay, but if I am not happy she would rather set me free.

What should I do?

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So....last time ten years ago...you didn't know for seven...you've now known for three. It's sounding to me as if what occurred has had no affect other than your acquiring knowledge of it. In which case, I would suggest making a mental adjustment and moving along. Confession, remorse, desire to continue obtained.

Got to believe there's more to the story than you've said. How/why did her confession come about? Can you say more?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 11:57AM
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She confessed because it was eating her up inside. She had be praying about it and she just confessed. It has been a tough three years. I look at it like marriage virginity, once it's gone you can never get it back. The question I keep asking myself is, should I have taken some time 3 years ago to be apart? I just quickly said I forgive her because she was in so much pain about it. I have no sexual desire for her anymore, but I do enjoy my home life.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 1:39PM
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This sounds quite recoverable to me. From your description, the pieces required for a new beginning are already in place. Assuming her confession and remorse are genuine, the rest is up to you. The forgiveness part really is yours alone. You'll have to throw away attitudes of "unfair", "unjust", and all the other baggage your injury has brought with it and begin again with what you have now. Some people can do this. Some can't. From your description, I think you're likely one who can.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 3:45PM
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I have to agree with asolo, even though it is difficult to accept that the condition of your happy marriage is not what you thought it was.

Your forgiveness and ultimately being willing to never mention her sins again, given her assurance that her issues have been resolved, will definitely get you to healing.

I hope you know that her cheating was not your fault, even though cheating partners often say it is because of some attribute of their parner that they cheated, it is not an acceptible excuse, but their bad choice in selfishly dealing with their own wants and needs, unfortunately independent of their marriage partner.

Has she re-assured you that this will never happen again, and that she only wants and needs you now. I mean look at the normal seven year period when you didn't know.

When someone confesses something that is too heavy for them to carry anymore, it is often a cry for acceptance, more than it is a cry for forgiveness. The fact that she needs your acceptance, and forgiveness, and love knowing something that she is ashamed and hurt about, means that you are playing an integral and mportant role, especially given that she doesn't want you to leave.

Consider acccepting her re-assurances, if they have been offered, and forgive her, It would be a shame to loose an 18 year long marriage over something that will never re-occur.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 4:40PM
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Adultery is often a death knoll for a marriage. People confess of it to their partner to relieve their own guilt. Not realizing how selfish that is. If the partner does not know, the guilty party can seek out a therapist or minister/pastor/rabi to help them work it thru. Why tell? It can only do more harm. If the adultery was still going on it would make sense as confessing is a cry for help to stop the affair. Something that has been over for three years is long gone and no longer interfering with the relationship. It would make better sense for the cheater to concentrate on the marital partner and working to create intimacy and not confessing which will only churn up a lot of bad vibes and cause a whole host of additional relationship problems.

My guess is that the OP's DW is the one with continuing issues about the marriage.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 12:32AM
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It's a purely personal decision. I could not live/love with the lack of trust, but your past shows you are able to do that.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 12:58PM
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Doesn't sound like you can trust her, which is understandable.

You have a lot to loose, if you leave, your home life, daily contact with your children, the security. I would think very carefully along those lines, ask yourself what you would be giving up.

As another poster stated, your wife's confession does not help you, only her, or she thinks it did.

I think you need to work on forgiveness, really research strategies for moving on and really putting all this behind you. You loved your wife, at some point, you wanted to be with her, you can capture those feelings again.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 5:21PM
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How Can I Forgive You, by Janice Abrams Spring
After the Affair, same author.

Used and sworn by, by many marriage and family therapists.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 9:30PM
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SO's X cheated several times. She confessed, who knows why. He as he thought he forgave, I doubt he trully did. He thought he did. She eventually cheated again, didn't confess anymore though but there was evidence. At the end she left for the other man who was one of the guys she cheated with. 28 years of marriage. he regrets he forgave then, it didn't make anyone happy in a long run. he wishes sometimes he left right away back then when he was younger.

on the other hadn my best friend had few meaningless affairs during their about 25 years of marriage. Mainly just sex and seeking some and never wanted much sex. She got very bored and unhappy and didn't want to leave the marriage. She got it out of her system, she didn't confess to him. She went to a priest, confessed. Went to therapy. then she did a marraige ceremony in a church again and renewed the vows. Priest said her to repent but not tell her DH. Their marraige goes just great now. She has no interest in affairs anymore. DH actually got to be more outgoing with age and even sex life improved, he is more intrested in it now. yes, it was dishonest on her part but she feels she repented her sins by treating her DH very well now. She has learned to appreciate her DH the way he is. If she would confess to him, their marriage probably would be over by now. So who knows. I think it is awful to cheat but it is awful to confess unless you want to leave for good. It is unfair to burden your partner with unnecessary info.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 8:34PM
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part of my post got cut out. i mean my best friend was seeking some company, she is very outgoing and her DH is flegmatic and she always complained he almost never wanted sex. that's what caused her affairs.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 8:36PM
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Forgiving is easy. Forgetting takes a long time.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 3:32PM
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Interesting jeff - my experience and watching others gives me a different take: Forgiveness is a huge challenge - until one finally decides to take the plunge - then it's easier than the anger. Forgetting never happens, and shouldn't. Things to need to be put in their place though-

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 7:04PM
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Jeff, that is what my husband used to say. I told him I may forgive, but forgetting is impossible and in a way it's good because we learn from mistakes. He was speaking in terms of his children and my feeling toward them.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 9:33PM
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I think when we finally do forgive, the anger changes to a kind of sorrow. Sadness that the dispute happened, but optimism that we have learnt from it.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 12:16AM
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firedreams and tenderchichi: So what you are saying is if "your" husband had a long term affair, (or more throughout your marriage) that it would be selfish of him to tell you about them, and you believe the right thing to do would be for him to keep it to himself. You actually believe it is awful and selfish to confess such a betrayal and breach of trust to you, his wife? You believe that the right thing for your husband to do would be to keep such secrets to himself???????? Are you kidding me?

For me, I would want to know if my spouse were involved in an affair, or "was" and it is now over. Remember the golden rule, treat others as you want to be treated.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 9:19AM
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I personally wouldn't want to be told if the affair/indiscretion was over. Granted, considering STD's could be a problem, that would have to be weighed into it, but if my husband practiced safe sex and was clean, I think generally him telling me would be selfish on his part, not something good.

I understand your opinion, bnicebkind, but I think sometimes telling someone the truth (be it telling them their hair looks bad, or telling them you slept with someone else) isn't always the best route. Honesty has it's place, but it's not the only thing that makes a marriage. IMHO, Kindness, love and compassion are "more" important. And, if you're lying to someone to be kind to them and save them years of heartache (and it's not just to save your own as&) sometimes it may be the best route for everyone involved to keep your indiscretion to yourself. Confession may make your heart feel better, but it will probably be breaking your spouses heart and soul forever. So very often a confession is based on selfish motives (to get it off your chest and make yourself feel better), and not good intentions.

Now if my husband continued to have affairs, or it was an on going thing... then I would want to know... but I highly doubt he would be "honest" enough to tell me anyway.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 10:01AM
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i can see how making the choice not to tell would be a kind thing, and then you've got yourself a nice, conflict free, kind, every body is happy sort of marriage.

The alternative is to have an intimate marriage, where things are based on truth and openness.

I guarantee that if one person is having an affair, the other person knows it ON SOME LEVEL. it may be subconscious, but it's known. Either that or the couple is totally disconnected, and no amount of nice is going to make that okay by me.

So if the one knows about it, then a certain level of distrust and distance is developed. Once it is disclosed, it has the option of being resolved completely, and true intimacy can be obtained.

In the time it takes to resolve the issue and rebuild trust and obtain forgiveness, there may be periods of intense struggle, and often time the cheated on party will say, "I wish you hadn't told me. This is too heavy a burdon." However, if both stick to the plan, and work as a team to resolve it, then the end result is a MUCH more solid relationship than it was prior, and without question much more intimate and founded upon trust than the relationshiop that is full of nicey nice.

You can't underestimate the power of the subconscious. and you have no idea what you are missing when total intimacy and truth are non existant.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 11:46AM
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Would I want to know?

If my husband had had an affair and it was over for a number of years and our marriage was going along smoothly, no, I don't think it would be a good thing to tell.

If the spouse of the cheater had no idea that years ago their mate had an indiscretion and then they went on to have children, buy a house, share a life, etc. then what would be the point?

If the spouse was currently in the middle of an affair and the marriage was being undermined because of it then the cheater telling is often times a cry for help.

Oftentimes the cheater's partner in crime waits expectantly in the wings for their lover to come clean with their wives. Thinking, that finally they will be chosen over the wife. Usually, that isn't the case at all. Once the beans have been spilled the couple come to terms with their marital problems. If the cheater is the husband, wives are the more forgiving of the sexes and the marriage can be restored. However, that does not hold to be true when it is the wife who is the cheater.

There is also another kind of cheater. The serial cheater who drops his or her pants at any chance. That would totally blow the cheated upons mind. They are dangerous. A walking time bomb with a big chance of running across a partner who may pass them a life threatening venereal disease. That situation is one in which a spouse surely needs to know due to how life threatening it is.

Also, there are the spouses who like to dabble with escorts (recently posted on in another thread). As disagreable as I find that, at least those "professional" take care in a manner as to avoid disease.

It depends upon whether the cheating situation has been long over and divulging the indescretion might destroy and harm the children of the marriage which evolved from the point of the indiscretion into a happy and stable marriage and family.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 10:06PM
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I don't know about long time affairs. I was thinking if somebody had a short time episode, like few times kind of thing they should keep it to themselves unless they plan on leaving their partner.If they confess to make themselves feel less guilty, then it is selfish.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 10:46PM
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tenderchichi and finedreams: You are both still talking about cheating and infidelity, and the selfishness of confessing, as it applies to "other people's marriages".

Please re-read my post on Thurs. Feb.14, @ 9:19.

That you both believe it is selfish and wrong for the cheater to confess to their spouse about their betrayal.

I am still asking would you feel the same way if it was "YOUR" spouse who was involved in an affair that lasted several months or years, but this affair was now over???????? Would "you" feel it was wrong and selfish for "your" husband to tell "you" of his betrayal that continued over such a long period of time, and he still has feelings for her, even now?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 9:01AM
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if he still has feelings for her now, I would need to know because I would leave him right away. if however he slept with somone 5 years ago on a buisness trip and already forgot her name but now wants to confess, i would prefer he confesses to rabbi, priest, mullah, therapist whoever, but not make me to suffer over something long forgotten. yes, if he is having a long time affair with someone he cares about, I want to know because i want my marriage or relationship to end right away.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 2:54PM
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My answer to "How would I feel if my spouse cheated?" would be very much the same as what findedreams posted above.

I think that if we as a couple were struggling along with issues and intimacy and I could not discern that there was a reason such as a romance with another and I was suffering in the marriage I would definitely want to know so I could leave.

I would be angry and righteously so if I had been abandoned while my spouse diddled someone else. The duped party deserves to know that the effort and sacrifice put in to hold together a marriage was not being put forth while the spouse ignored their needs while cheating with another. Basically, wasting your life while they wait for the opportune time to make their exit. In the meantime, the cheater has laid down roots with another and time ticked on. In essence, the duped spouse is left holding the bag. Not knowing that their spouse was long gone while still living with them and wasting prescious years of another's life which they can never regain.

I can't stand the thought of it!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 9:35PM
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exactly. if it is a long time affair and feelings towards that other person are involved, then not telling is awful!

Imagine that you work on your relationship and you think that both of your work on improving your relationship, but it turned out that the other person is in love with someone else and just waits for appropriate time to exit. isn't it awful?

My BF's X was involved with TOM for a long time and just waited for a younger DD to turn 18 to avoid custody battles and CS. In a meanwhile Bf thought that they both work on a relationship and it is improving! Well she was much nicer because she was planning quiet escape, for him it emant relationship is improving but for her it meant that she can escape easily if things are peaceful. He was shocked that she was involved seriously with someone else all this time and she planned moving out and just waited for DD's birthday. can you imagine how the person feels?

My exhusband did the same to his 2nd wife, was in LOVE with someone else and had a year long affair while his wife had no clue! And since he is a peaceful type of guy, never argues, she had no clue he is miserable! This is unacceptable. Yes, it needs to be told right there!

But if it was one time unimoprtant deal and he/she moved on and affair had no meaning then "no" I'd rather not know.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 9:19AM
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If my husband ever cheated during our marriage I would want to know and want to end the marriage. Obviously my dh was not a virgin when we met (we both had kids), but the thought of him touching another woman after we were together would disgust me. I could not get past that and be intimate with him again. I would picture the affair in my mind.

I once had a boyfriend who cheated and did not confess, I foud out about it. He wanted forgiveness, all I felt was sickness. I could not even look at him and not feel pain. I refused to talk to him anymore and went my own way.

In my opinion once trust is lost it is hard to get back. IF my dh cheated I would always distrust him and worry myself to sickness when he was at work or running errands, thinking that maybe he was not where he says he is.

That is just me though, I guess some people could get over an affair, I am just not that kind of person.

"you hurt me once shame on you, you do it twice and then its shame on me for giving you the chance"

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 10:20AM
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When a marriage is in "trouble" and there is bickering and arguing going on between the parties, then there is still hope. The arguments occur because one or both parties still feel something for each other and want to fix what is wrong. It may not be the right way to go about it but the desire is still there.

Many couples argue and fight and continue to stay connected. Perhaps it is their style but not a healthy one.

The warning sign that your spouse is detaching and disengaging from you is when the arguments about your issues stop. When that happens it basically means that your spouse has given up.

Men often times lack insight and think that just because their wife stopped beating the dead horse that everything is now fine and dandy. Not very bright women might think the same thing as well.

When the spouse gives up and their personal problems which were the fuel for all the prior arguments do not resolve and never addressed in any sort of emotionally intelligent way then the marriage becomes at risk for divorce and/or infidelity.

People who grew up in dysfunctional homes and that can mean anything from violence, emotional/physical abuse, yelling and screaming, unkindness, etc, do not learn the right way to treat themselves and others. They carry that baggage into all aspects of life later on including their marriages. They have been hurt by it and try to control their spouses in order to avoid further hurt. They do not trust and don't feeling deserving of it either.

Men who grew up in homes where their father philandered feel that it is normal to cheat. Their family of root is their paradigm. Women who lost their fathers to affairs, can also repeat the cycle by tempting married men. Perhaps with the vindictive desire to get back at their fathers and destroy marriages.

I think that as a result they feel damaged and dirty and feel everyone is the same as they are so why bother?

Obviously, that is not a pleasant way to feel. Constantly on alert. Always measuring yourself from an outside ruler that is constantly changing. No internal mechanism upon which to judge. No wonder they cheat and argue and fight.

Their emotions cause them to trip over their intelligence. Doomed to live an unhappy and defeated life!

Actually, we are all at risk when we tie the knot. It is a crap shoot. You really have to know what you are getting into when you get married and being "in love" clowds our minds when we make our choices.

That's just life.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 1:06PM
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Please help me, anybody from this forum. My wife and I have been married for 8 years, and I recently discovered a flash drive that had romantic pictures and emails with a lover (an old flame that she met again on Facebook), and confronted her about it (over the phone because she was on her second trip down to Bs. As. since we returned to the U.S. a year ago) and she flat out denied it for 2 hours until she finally gave in and admitted when I mentioned the flash drive. She is begging me not to leave her, but the emails she wrote with this guy show that she had been talking about cheating on me since Feb. of this year, even though she only went out with the guy during one day (during which she had sex with him twice). I wish I could forgive her, but I am having a hard time feeling like we can ever be the same couple we used to be. She said she had the affair because I was travelling alot at the time and she felt lonely so she started chatting with this guy. PLEASE HELP ME FIND A WAY TO LEAVE OR KEEP LOVING HER. Currently I am in limbo and I feel lost and desperate to go one with my life without destroying everything we've done. We have three kids, 7, 5 and 3, which is another reason to stay together, but HOW CAN I???

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 12:13AM
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If you're serious (snicker) start a new thread. If you concentrate and look closely, you may notice this one died almost three years ago.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 8:26PM
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I have had a similar situation with infidelity, on my wife's part. At the time, I had been diagnosed with a terminal illness, which has since been found to have been an erroneous diagnosis. So the good news, is I get to live, but the bad news is my wife had a fling, I believe, to find someone else when I became sick. We separated, and she begged me for another chance, and I gave in, under the circumstances. Now I find the insatiable passion I had for her, completely evaporated. I'd give anything to feel even a little bit of passion again. She has begged me to be with someone else, "to pay her back", but I simply can't. I feel like the part of me that was sexual, died when I found out about the affair, and I used to be almost insatiable about sex, and now I do almost anything to avoid it. Eventually, I get cornered and have to go through the motions, but I haven't climaxed in 5 years, nor do I much care whether I do. I am in perfect health, physically, I just don't know what to do about my complete lack of libido. Is there anything I can try to rekindle any kind of passion, or is this marriage, done? I've gone to romantic places, and am intent on being passionate, but somehow or someway, we end up screwing it up. I don't want to cheat, but I wonder what it would be like to feel passion again, while I still can. Would counseling help us? Is it my fault? Am I subconsciously punishing her for her affair? I don't think I am, as I hold no anger towards her. I did initially, but now that there's no passion, there's no anger. I am at my wits end, though she seems relatively happy with the situation. I think if it was me, and I knew for a fact that my wife wasn't climaxing, (as she clearly knows I am not) I'd be more insistent at fixing things. I wonder, sometimes, how much of a blessing it was to learn that they made a mistake in my diagnosis. For the record, we are in our 30's, with no children.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 1:43AM
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