My husband cheated on me. Now what?

Last week, a new betrayed wife posted a comment on my blog. She discovered her husband’s affair the night before and her Googling brought her to my blog. I remember so clearly lying in my bed typing the words: my husband cheated on me into the Google search bar of my iPad only hours after my discovery. I wanted someone to tell me what to do. I was completely unprepared for an affair. I always assumed if he cheated our marriage would be over. Maybe it’s what I was taught or maybe I just haven’t known any happily married people that have dealt with infidelity. The fact is I didn’t know what to do. I felt broken and defeated. I felt alone and scared. I wanted someone to tell me how to navigate this mess because this wasn’t supposed to happen to me.

What I discovered in the 72 hours after my D-Day was there was no one out there that agreed on what to do. Every betrayed woman had a different path, a different story or a marriage unlike my own. I joined web groups and read countless articles and blogs. And still, no one could tell me succinctly what to do. Honestly, I wanted someone to tell me if my marriage was over. Like I said, before I found out my husband cheated I didn’t think I would ever stay or have the capacity to forgive him. But after I discovered his affair, I realized that our love was not a casualty of his affair. I told myself I would allow myself time to decide if I could remain in the marriage or not. I told myself I could leave at any time but I would allow myself two years to heal. My decision may be not right for anyone else but me—but I could live with it.

I remember reading this article about four or five months ago. The questions asked in the article are:

  1. How do you define love?
  2. Is your definition of love large enough to encompass profound failure?

We each define love independently in our own lives. We place our own limitations and expectations of love on our definition. On my D-Day, I don’t know if I could have known if my definition of love was large enough to include my husband’s failures/infidelity. As much as I have grown in the past ten months, there are still moments when the affair hits me like a ton of bricks and I question whether I can forgive him completely. It’s how I overcome those moments that keeps me going. It’s about being open and honest with my husband about those moments so we can have complete transparency. I am not expected to just get over his affair and move on. We have an agreement that if something bothers me in five, ten or twenty years about this affair that I can bring it up and he can never say: I thought you were over that already. I promise to not hold grudges or throw it in his face but I am not expected keep silent either.

I made mistakes in those first days after discovering his affair too. We spent hours talking but I couldn’t hear much of what he said. I heard the words but I couldn’t understand them because I made assumptions that were completely wrong about his relationship with his AP. I had always thought if a man has an affair the sex must be amazing, the relationship is worth walking away from your marriage for and the man is a liar. While those things could be true—they weren’t the truth for us. Try not to base your healing on anything said in the wake of the discovery of the affair.

Sex is also a strange thing after an affair. Many women report they begin the hysterical bonding immediately. That was not the case for me. My husband was not home for 36 hours after I discovered his affair. I had time to read and read online about infidelity. I read that it took two years minimum to heal and I told myself we might now have sex for two year (boy, was I wrong). I also told my husband this. I told him that I couldn’t be physical with him and was he willing to work on a marriage with no sexual intimacy. He agreed he would stay no matter what happened. We made love the night after we were both tested for STDs. We went out to dinner and we began talking—not about the affair—about us. We were on a date and we didn’t even plan it or know it. We left the restaurant and began kissing in the parking lot. He pushed me up against the car and I never wanted him more in my life. We barely made it inside our home before I began ripping his clothes off. That was September 28, 2012. We made love seven times over the next twenty-four hours. Both of us full of desire and passion. What I realized about hysterical bonding is that it has to be both ways—both spouses have to need that connection to be reestablished with the other person. My husband and I must be still hysterical or bonding because we haven’t missed a day. The sex is the best it’s ever been and we had a passionate and playful sex life before the affair.

The truth is you may not know what to do after you discover your spouse cheated on you, but you will be okay. You will survive. Take care of yourself. Eat. Sleep. Don’t spend every moment thinking about the affair.

I wonder what advice you wish you heard on your D-Day or just after? Write it below and hopefully it can help someone. Finish this thought: My husband cheated on me, now what?

273 thoughts on “My husband cheated on me. Now what?

  1. I found out two days ago that my husband cheated on me with a stripper…. TWICE…. Not even a month after I gave birth to our first born. I was crushed….but I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. We’ve been married for 3 years and it’s been nothing but lies. After getting married, I found out he was a gambler and he lost his job, crashed his car and wasn’t paying the bills. I tried to make it work with him for 2 years, going to counselors and gamblers anonymous. I mean he really had plenty of chances but he continued to lie to me. I thought things were getting better and I got pregnant. It was such a happy moment for me and he just didn’t seem to share the same joys. But anyways….I gave birth in February and in March he cheated and then cheated again a few weeks later. All this time, he was walking around the house normal. I did have a strange feeling and started questioning things he was doing. I thought for sure he was gambling again. But to find this girl’s number in his phone, and you better believe I called her, was beyond devastating. She tolded me everything and he still continued to deny it. NOW… He’s sorry and he’s concerned about his son. Of course I kicked him out to his parents. We were having trust issues from before……how could I ever even consider to trust him even 1% now. I know if I never found out, he would probably still be doing it and I know he’s only sorry because he got caught. My heart is in pieces. I’m angry, sad, I just have so many different emotions going on I don’t know what to do. I give you credit for forgiving your husbands and trying to make it work. I just don’t know if I could do that, since he was never up front about anything.

  2. D-Day was two days ago. Actually, it seems that he has been cheating on me with multiple women for almost a year, not just recently. I don’t know how to address him with this. The only evidence that I have is his daily habits and a couple copies of some text messages. How do I tell him that I know with out his spouting lies and without me completely losing it?
    He has already alluded to wanting to leave our marriage and two kids, but I’m still stuck. I think that if it had been a one time deal for him or if he wanted to stay with me I could forgive him and we could get past this. However, this looks like the end. I’ll be okay eventually, but what about my children (ages 5 and 3)? What do I tell them once a decision is made between me and my husband? I hate to think that our marriage is over just like that. Please help with any advice. Thank you!

  3. Hello I need some help to get over this I just found out my husband has cheated n lied to me the whole 3 yrs I been with him .now he wants to work things out n go On but its really hard for me not say things to him I just found out he was going night clubs dancing n all with other women but what’s so strange he never took me to places he took them I say them cause it was more than one r he thinks I can just forget n move on and I can’t…what do I do please help me I’m going crazy .(by the way he accused me the whole time n it was him all alone) .thanks

  4. A week ago I found out my husband had a affair while he was on a 9 week training a year ago. He says it was only for the last 2-3 weeks of the training. They did not have any contact until about a month ago when our marriage took a dip. We are married for 15 years. I really love him and forgive him. I want our marriage to work. He has indicated that he also wants to but sometimes it feels that he does not want to. He has broken all communication with her. She lives about 600Km from us. Am I just feeling insecure? We have talked a lot about why it happend and sex is amazing. I also just feel that I am making a lot of adjustments than he does. He said that he needs some time to think this all over. He wants to leave for a week or two. I have said to him I don’t want him to leave.

    • I also felt like I was making concessions and adjustments in order to heal our marriage. Have you read the book: “How My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me?” Forgive the title but her perspective and experience is different.

  5. I’m so confused. My husband and I are working through his affair and working on our marriage. I found out about the affair about two months ago and it had only gone on about three weeks. It started when I was out of town with our daughter. We were both unhappy in our marriage at the time but I had no idea it was so bad he felt the need for separation. Needless to say he began an affair with our neighbor. He and I got back together and talk more now then we ever have. And our relationship is better than it was before. Unfortunately the affair started with sex but he says that he really liked her too. He says he wants me to stay and he lives me but there is something still missing in our relationship. We’re both unhappy with where we are at. And I don’t know if I should keep trying. It’s only been a month since we got back together. I love him so much but I wonder if he still has feelings for her and if I should give it more time. What do I do??

  6. I might as well share my story I has no idea that there are so many woman suffering out there. My D-Day was a month ago.

    A year and a half ago I went home for the birth of my sisters first baby. It was over Christmas and I took our two kids with me. My husband could not go because he had to work. I have always trusted him and have never felt that he cannot be left alone. One night he went out with friends and got really drunk and had to sleep over at a friends house. The roommate went out drinking as well and on return to the house he said that she came so sit next to him and he does not know why but they had drunken sex.

    I returned home two days later and he said that he had kissed a lady a bar and that it was all. I was so hurt. Then I had a dream in which I saw him having sex with someone else. I confronted him and he said it was true. A year and a half ago when he had said it was only a kiss it was a one night stand. He also has had no contact with her and he has never seen her again.

    I am so hart broken I can hardly breath sometimes. He said his deeply sorry and that he loves me and that he will never hurt me again. We have had mad sex for the last month and he has always treated me with love.

    I don’t want to leave him because I love him but this is killing me the thought that he had sex with someone when we promised before God to forsake all others. I know God forgives us and so should we but this is beyond anything I have expected.

    He has told me everything I want to know. What I would like to do is to contact her not to shout at her but for her to know that I know. I have never seen her in my life and she is not part of my husbands work or anything
    Like that. I don’t want someone out there to think that they slept with my husband and that his wife has no clue. Is that so wrong? I mentioned it to my husband and he said I should leave it. She is a slut and it will not mean anything to her if I ring her. Any advice for a drowning wife?

    • I hope you are keeping your head above water and we can keep you from drowning. It’s so easy to get lost in the pain… I feel like it really will swallow you if you let it. You can overcome this. Why do you feel as though you want to contact her? When I first discovered my husband’s affair I did email Bat Shit (the AP) and tell her I knew about it. I am trying to imagine what I would feel like if she didn’t know I knew. I imagine I would feel the same as you. My advice to your husband is to support you in whatever you need to do to heal. Even if it means confronting the other woman. Even if it drags out things from the past that may or may not be better left untouched. Your needs are paramount. THAT SAID, I feel as though if you do confront, call or write a letter to the other woman then you need to choose your words very carefully. Everything you say/do should be perfectly scripted and shared with your husband. She also, may not remember your husband or even know that he was married if it was indeed one night.
      I know it’s difficult to accept but sometimes even the best husbands fuck up. In a moment of weakness they succumb to a fleeting desire. It doesn’t make the pain hurt any less but he didn’t intentionally set out to hurt you. He just didn’t comprehend the consequences. I hope you can find some closure with all this and keep moving forward.

  7. I don’t know where to start except at the point where I fell into a trap. I asked my husband for a separation because I had fallen in love with someone else. I never had sex with both of them during this 6 month ordeal, at least my vagina is faithful to one man at a time. As soon as I was about to be free of my husband, my lover for lack of a better word started sleeping with someone else and couldn’t see a future with me anymore. I was devastated and went back to my husband revealing the whole truth. A year later I found out my husband had a one night stand, how did I find out you ask?? I got Herpes! Thank you Karma. So I went through some counseling, but we stayed together and life went on as it often does.
    It has been a whole year and I just found out my husband is having an affair, it was only about a week long, but in that week he spent family time with me and our daughter, we had sex 3 times, we had a date. He also went fishing with her and her children, met her parents, had sex with her, spent time kissing her at work, and told her he loved her. Oh yeah he lied to her about everything, his job, family life, everything. He still wants me to stay. He is willing to do anything. I just don’t know how you get through a marriage that has been stepped on three times. I do love him and we are both going to go to counseling, but is it really better to stay.

    • Making the decision to stay is personal. It was the right decision for me. Your husband is willing to do anything to fix your marriage but are you? Have you guys gone to therapy? Figure out what each of you need if you stayed in your marriage. I want to ask you if you went back to your husband (after being rejected by your lover) because you didn’t want to be alone or if you realized you truly wanted to be with him? I think the first part of your answer can be found there. I also think your husband needs to figure out why he’s cheated twice. The one night stand may have been just that–a momentarily lapse of judgement that he regretted or knew was an accident. But why did he lie to the woman he worked with about his real life? Understanding his intention and how he got there may help you trust him again. My husband has spent the last four months in therapy discovering and learning more about his personality. I feel like this is crucial for him to understand not just himself but also his view/role in our marriage. A marriage can heal but it takes both people.

  8. Me and my husband meet January 2012, started dating April 2012, and married in July 2012. Well July 6th 2014 I found out my husband cheated on me July-August with his ex-girlfriend. Not only did he cheated but there is a possibility that he is the father of her 3mo old baby. Hard part is that we were in the process of having my tubes untied. Now my mind and emotions are all over the place. I dont know of I should leave or try and work it out.

    • Hi Scarred,
      You just found all this out only a month ago. You must be on a roller coaster of emotions. What do you feel you need to do right now? Do you want to stay or do you need space? I trusted my gut instinct and I have never regretted staying to work it out. But that’s my own experience. There are some women that need to separate themselves to gain clarity and there are others who stay and realize they cannot get past the infidelity. I truly believe you have to trust yourself. If you decide to stay and work it out figure out what you need to trust and heal. If you need your husband to go to therapy tell him that. If you need to go together to therapy then he needs to be willing and open to do anything and everything you need. It takes time to heal and you both need to be committed to the process and each other. I hope that helps.

  9. I can’t believe how close to my experience yours was. I felt many if not all of the things you describe and the sex afterwards too! This post gives me hope for my marriage and I feel like I am not alone. My issue now is…how do we rebuild confidence in our relationship? I’m paranoid it will happen again. What if it does?

    • For me it took complete transparency for many months. I needed my husband to disclose everything to me. I’ve heard of someone tracking their husbands with GPS but I never went that far (although I considered it). It took me almost a year before I felt secure that I wasn’t being lied to or missing something. The thing is, we can’t prevent this from happening again. Our husbands can promise up and down but there is no guarantee. I believe the honesty we share now will prevent us from going through this again but it’s never going to be something I believe is an impossibility again.

  10. Its been a week since I found out my husband cheated on me. I was completely blindsided. I trusted my husband %100. I don’t know what to think. I thought we were happy, I thought he loved me. I have never been so wrong in my life. I have no idea how to recover from this..if I will ever be able to.

    • I hope you are okay. I want you to know that your husband’s affair had nothing to do with you. It was not a reflection of his love for you or your marriage. His affair was about something broken inside of him. Something he should have shared with you. My husband had insecurities that were eating at him and breaking him. His affair partner adored him and gave him attention–made him not feel broken. He never intended for me to know about his affair and he never realized the pain he would cause me. While some of this offers an explanation but none of it is an excuse. Recovery from infidelity takes time and effort. You will get better but it may take time. Find a therapist or a counselor to speak with. Someone to listen but offer neutral advice is important. You need to decide what you want to do without anyone telling you how to react. Don’t expect you will have the answers immediately. It may take months and even years before you know what you want and need.

  11. Where do i begin. I found out last month that my husband of 6 years cheated on me with a Co worker who is also married (but going through a divorce because she can’t quit cheating on her husband) she knew about me but didn’t care. Both say it only happened once. I immediately kicked my husbanf out when i found out but over the last few weeks he has come back to the house to help with the kids. I. Told him i want a divorce but he is begging me not to leave him. Saying he will do whatever it takes to keep me but i just cant seem to forgive him. I always told him if he cheated on me we were done and even though i am done its nice to see him putting in so much effort with the kids and our house which he neglected for 6 years prior. Part of me wants him to hit the curb but the other part needs him here as we have 4 small children and as much as i dont want to be with him i dont want to see him with anyone else. Its like a lose/lose situation. Im unhappy with him at home because he broke me and ive lost all trust but im unhappy if he is gone because i dont want him to find someone else. I have no idea what to do. On top of that because he works with her it kills me to know he sees her everyday for hours at a time and to make matters worse she actually got incontact with me not to apologize for sleeping with my husband but to justify why she did it which hurt me even more. I dont know what to do but I’m so miserable

    • Before my husband cheated (and during) I told my husband I would never stay in a marriage if he cheated and that I would cut his dick off if he had sex with another woman. All these things I said because an affair/betrayal seemed so far from my reality and life. I didn’t know what to do in the beginning. I still loved my husband but I was so angry and hurt by him. I decided not to make any decisions for a period of time. I read books and blogs. I secretly decided to commit to rebuilding my marriage for two years. IF after two years I still felt empty/sad/miserable then I would leave OR if any time during those two years I felt that my marriage was over then I could leave. It gave me some perimeters to work within. But that is how I felt. Everyone has a different experience and gut instinct. You have to trust yourself but I definitely feel like you shouldn’t make life-changing decisions if you have any doubt. The first month following infidelity is devastating. Regardless of what you decide to do with your marriage–rebuilding your life and learning to trust again is difficult. I hope that you can find the answer you need.

  12. Take your time and get a therapist to help you through this a awful time. I said the same thing and I have put up with it more than once. dumb dumb dumb….

  13. Hi
    I found out a week ago my boyfriend of 4 1/2 years had slept with someone else- it hasn’t been going on for long and he is extremely sorry. I know this sounds silly but everyone including his friends are shocked. He’s the last person in the world to do this sort of thing. He says its been building up for a while and has felt unhappy but kept burying what made him unhappy and carried on- he feels this was trying at the relationship. I know he still loves me and when we had time together we were always having a hug or a giggle. Yes we fell out and I can see we had stuff to work on so I really want to make a go of it but he says no and that hurts more than him cheating. I think he hates himself so much for it he can’t forgive himself and is walking away for that reason. What can I do? I can’t lose him it will kill me,

    • Relationships require two people working together. Your boyfriend will need to forgive himself whether he stays in the relationship or not. You will need to learn to trust again regardless of whether you stay together or not. If he is willing, keep communicating so that you can both understand how you got where you are. Maybe going to therapy will help you both figure out where to go from here.

  14. I just found out today that while my
    Husband was at tech school for the military he slept with another woman and made plans to run away with her, saying he loved her. I am truly confused as we have always had an amazing relationship! We have a 9 month old daughter together and I am trying so so so hard to try and forgive it. I honestly don’t know if I can but I’m flying to Texas to see what we can do. He already agreed to go to therapy.

  15. All I feel is pain and sadness like I have never experienced in my life, I hate myself for allowing one person to effect me so deeply. My D-Day has been 2wks ago my husband fell for a co-work and has been hiding the relationship for 4 months. I haven’t been able to talk to anyone about it. I was never been a weak person but all I do is cry and ask my self why, the thing that hurts me the most is that he can’t give me an answer to ‘why’… My question to myself is’ why do I still love him?’

    • I wondered that same exact question in the beginning. I was so hurt but I didn’t want him to leave me. I wanted him near me while I figured out what I was going to do. It’s the strangest dichotomy… this burning pain and betrayal but the love was like an undertone in my life. Even when I felt like the world had pushed me down and taken everything from me, our love was still there. I can’t explain. Keep talking to your husband. Find a therapist. You don’t need to tell anyone you don’t want to tell but it helps to find a therapist that can be a safe place for both of you.

  16. Thank you so much for this. I just found out today my husband cheated in me 7 out of the 9 months we were engaged and we have only been married for a month.. He was sleeping with his receptionist. I’ve had the hardest day and reading your article really helped me put Into perspective how id like to handle it.

  17. I found out my husband has the std syphilis two days ago, he 1st claimed he didn’t sleep with anyone besides me. We will be married 14 years this year and have two beautiful kids,after begging and pleading with him to tell me, because you can only get it by having had oral sex, intercourse with someone that’s infected, he came out with some story that doesn’t even make sense. This is not the 1st time that he cheated on me, but he always maintained that it was never physically and I think that is why I took him back every time, he is such pleasant person to be around with and a great father. I told him the last time that it happened again our marriage would be over, I don’t know what to do, I want to get tested as well but didn’t get around to it yet.

    • The first thing you need to do is get tested for all stds. Go to your doctor or go to a walk-in clinic if you want to be anonymously tested. Then you need to take care of yourself–eat, sleep and focus on what you want/need. You need to demand honesty from your husband because being a pleasant person just isn’t enough to make a marriage work. Your happiness is important. Your husband needs to find a therapist for himself and would also recommend that you both go together too. You need to communicate with each other and figure out where you are going next. You deserve the truth. Take care.

  18. I found out yesterday that my husband cheated on me. It was one time just a few weeks ago with an older woman whom he has still been in contact with since I know of monday. I don’t know of what to do. I felt like a lot of women that I could trust him all the way. He always told me he wouldn’t put himself in that position but he did and he took it all the way. I don’t know if I can be with him after this. It hurts to much the images of another woman’s hands on him of him having sex with another woman. It’s been less than 24 hours and I need more time to really be sure of my decision but I told him I only believed in 2 things for divorce cheating and abuse and he had to do one of them. He says he’s so sorry and he didn’t even want to do it but right now his words mean nothing to me. I have noticed a difference in him these last couple weeks. He has been down a lot and now I know why. He was guilty. What do I do? 10 years together 4 years of marriage and 3 beautiful daughters. How could he throw that away? He told me he knew he was going to tell me but he knew it would end our marriage. I have too much pain in my heart already he was the only one I could turn to for comfort and I have lost that. I lonely and lost. I never thought he would do this.

    • All I wanted in the beginning was for someone to tell me what to do because I didn’t know what to do. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers for you either. My best advice would be to tell you that you do not need to make any decisions right now in the wake of finding this out. You need to take care of yourself. Eat, sleep and don’t spend every minute of your day focused on the affair. Let your daughters be a perfect, beautiful distraction from the pain. Understand that your husband did not cheat to throw away your marriage. His affair was not because of you it was a choice he made (albeit a bad one). It’s hard to separate our husband’s actions from ourselves. Talk to your husband. Communicate how you feel. If you can, find a therapist and go together and/or individually. For me, I needed my husband to figure out how he was able to cheat on me for an entire year. How he was feeling neglected by me but never really talked to me about how he felt. In the end, all I can tell you is that it takes time. You are not alone… there is an entire community of women here with you. You will be okay.

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