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?

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

  1. I found out today that my husband had else’s with a girl that lived across from where he was staying a couple of months ago and his cousin told me today and this is after I seen a cheaters website in his email I can’t tell him who told me or that I saw the website an idk what to do :(

  2. I recently celebrated my 1 year anniversary and found out a few weeks after that he had an affair with a coworker around the same time. We have been together for 6 years and I completely trusted him. Our good was great and our bad wasn’t that bad. After arguing, crying, and praying, we decided to work things out. The weekend after, I went out of town and he was at home “building trust”. Well, I found out that addition to the affair with his coworkers, he was flirting with multiple (4+) women via FB chat and text. He even tried to meet someone up the weekend that I was gone. Also, he lied and went out that weekend. Not sure if anything was done, but the fact that he was still hiding and lying was too much, yet I still stayed… I go through angry periods and just feel like he’s not as remorseful as he could be. We don’t have any children and I keep thinking that this is a perfect divorce situation, but I’m still here. Hurt, angry, lost. What do I do? He is my dream partner, and if I leave, I would only be looking for someone like him and a relationship like ours. He recently started taking Adderall, and blamed it on that. He has since stopped, but I feel like I can’t trust him any longer… What do I do? I’m so lost… I just keep searching for “signs”, but haven’t I been receiving these “signs” via all the text messages and FB chat? I just keep thinking that we don’t have anything major together and this is an opportunity for me to start over. We’re both only 28 with no children or commitment. Please help me understand the next step!

    • I think the best thing you both can do is find a therapist. Go together and separately. I will say that my children were the main reason I stayed. I don’t know if i would have reacted differently if we didn’t have children. Keeping their lives unaffected was my primary focus. I wanted things to be as “normal” as possible until I knew what to do.
      But the thing is I also realized that the love didn’t just disappear. Talk. Be honest. Communicate. Stand up for yourself. Take care of yourself. Love yourself first.

    • Im very sorry to hear what you are going through. I hope you can find the answers to your question. I guess the reason I am responding is because I also was married with a man I loved dearly and would do anything for. But anything and everything was just not enough. We had 14 years together and 4 children (our youngest just turned 3 which is ours together). Even after a child together, his first marriage ended badly and we went through a nasty custody battle. Nothing ever came easy for us. But I stuck by his side because I thought we were meant to be together forever. Well that was fairy tale I made up in my mind. Unfortunately two affairs later in 3 years (maybe more, I don’t know) I could not handle the heartbreak and pain anymore. I resent everything he has done to our family and us but that’s something I had to decide if I wanted to continue fighting for. And my answer is no. I can’t change somebody else’s behaviour or make them do anything. They have to want to change! Its been seven months since I found out about his affair with his co-worker. It took me 6 months to decide that I have to let him battle his demons and only he can do that alone. Yes I am a single mother now, and its going to be a big adjustment from here on in. And yes I do still love the man I met 14 years ago but as far a future there is none, except for what we will share as a parent to our son. Its the hardest thing I have ever had to do but in order to find my strength and find faith again I had to leave. But if you believe you see change in him, then its possible he will do that for you. I don’t think its any easier with or without kids, the hurt is still the same and unbearable. For me I am not willing to be stuck in sadness and let my son see me be so broken. I had to get back on my feet and move on. I still have a long road ahead of me, im only one week into living alone but I found out since I left 8 weeks ago that I am stronger than I knew! So good luck, I hope you can repair/save your marriage. But take care of yourself.
      I found that therapy is amazingly helpful and you learn things about yourself that you never knew before. The first time I found out about his cheating I went to therapy and I thought something was wrong with me! How silly. I made mistakes just like anybody else but that didn’t give him the right to cheat on me. And Ive said it before on this blog, believe it or not, we suffer from a form of PTSD when dealing with infidelity! It strips you of so much. I think once you share that with another and go through the motions of the cheating you will find a way through the sadness and anger.

  3. My husband cheated on me for over two years. ..due to his gambling. ..and immaturity about our financial goals I moved out…i later learned of a possible baby almost year and many other events. ..i can’t believe my behavior. ..i told him my new address, I’ve slept with him protected of course. ..but he still is not committed to change…i feel so confused. ..and heart- broken

    • Hi Pebbles,
      I hope you are taking care of yourself first. Confusion is normal… you love(d) him and it’s difficult to just let go of those feelings and that love. Make sure you are protecting yourself from STIs and protecting your heart.

  4. Hi there…

    After 10 years of marriage, this past Monday night I found out my husband kissed and was texting and constantly calling his co-worker (even when we were together) for 3 months. He swears on his mother’a grave that he only kissed her and never had sex with her. She is married. She knew me and my kids.

    The minute I found out who she was I was so upset that I called her husband from my husbands phone and told him they were having an affair. My husband seems so regretful and says he loves me. He has been crying and even though I have kicked him out of the house every night he comes and does not leave.

    Every night we have been having crazy sex and every morning I regret it…. I’m so confused, I feel stupid!! He says it’s a big fault but not really cheating because he did not have sex with her and I shouldn’t be so overly hurt…. he even has suggested to take a lie detector test to prove they didn’t have sex.

    I feel like I’m going crazy.. Maybe it’s too soon. To me is more about the trust and him constantly calling and texting her even when I was there tells me he really liked her?? That hurts me the most. I feel I lost my best friend… We were not doing good in our marriage but I never thought he would cheat. He seems genuine now about wanting to fix things, he wants us to go to therapy but I don’t know what to do I don’t know what to believe…. I’m so lost. :(

    • After the affair I felt very much like you. I didn’t know what I wanted or what I should do. I love my husband but I hated what he had done. I felt like he destroyed everything good in our life by cheating. I couldn’t trust him and yet I wanted to make love to him constantly.
      My husband believed his affair partner was his friend. He even called her his BFF in an email once. I’m not sure if he meant it or not. In the wake of discovering the affair those words were like daggers in my heart. I hated her and wanted him to hate her too. With time I have gained a different perspective.
      Therapy is a good thing. Regardless of what happens next it is nice to have a neutral party to listen and weigh-in on the what I was going through after my husband’s affair. I would go. Let him talk. You need to talk and let him know how you feel and what you are going through.

    • Therapy is a good thing. Having a neutral party to listen was the so helpful for me and my husband. She would point out when I was struggling with something and ask me candid questions. I don’t know that I could have moved forward without those sessions. Talk to your husband. Let him talk. Ask him questions. It may hurt to hear the answers sometimes but I always felt like the truth was often better than what my mind was imagining.

      • Thanks you for replying,

        It’s been 6 days since I wrote the original message on your wall it hurts to read it again and picture myself feeling so lost in that moment. I have been through a horrible rollercoaster ride of emotions since I found out but I can say that now I feel much MUCH better. I feel am becoming stronger as days go by and I have started to think clearly somewhat. I have decided to stay and give him a second chance although we are looking for a therapist right now because I feel that without therapy our marriage will not survive. I am still hurt and angered but I am able to control it a bit better. I hate her, I feel because I don’t want to hate him istead and loose him. I know it was his decision, she owes me nothing but I rather keep on hating her until we go to therapy and I get help and to not channel my hate towards him right now and kick him out of the house.

        Most of the time I am ok, I am able to function well but then sometimes I lose it and cry, or can’t stand him at times and I guess is all part of the process but definitely therapy is necessary. Thank you for sharing your story… it’s sad to see that so many women are going through this but at the same time it helps to know you’re not alone and that other women are feeling what you’re feeling and that it is normal to feel so lost… Like you say, my advice would be to take care of yourselves ladies, do not blame yourselves for his affair and surround yourself with a good support group of family or friends you trust. Understand that all you feel is part of the process but at the end of the tunnel, things will get better! Stay strong!!

        Light

  5. My D-day was 3 hours ago as he just cheated last night. We’ve been married 11 years and have 4 kids. The night before we were having sex (not making love) and he couldn’t finish. So I asked him honestly what was wrong. He told me he loves me but he wasn’t in love with me anymore. This was very hurtful. We went a whole day without talking or texting. He came home last night around midnight and slept on the couch. I woke up at 430am and went through his text messages. That’s where I found the proof. He finally admitted it after denying it. He says it was just physical and that he wasn’t thinking. But it doesn’t matter right now. I swear I have been through all the stages, from anger and depression to even blaming myself in the last 3 hours. I couldn’t even walk upright. I felt like I was kicked in the stomach. I’m so numb. I called off of work. Our kids heard me sobbing. Oh, did I mention I called the slit this morning from his phone? I asked her if she had any idea what she and my husband has done to me and our 4 kids? I told her that I hope she will never rip apart another family. I told her that I hope that when she gets married and has kids of her own, that her husband never hurts her the way I’ve been hurt. I also called his mother and told her that a lot of shit was about to go down and I wanted her to hear it from me first.
    I just can’t believe this. And not only this, but why do I still love him? I don’t want to kick him out. I honestly believe he is fighting with some real demons and they are winning. I honestly believe this was a mistake… but am I strong enough to keep going? Is my love for him big enough to forgive him? I know we are all human and we make mistakes, but how do I get over this???

    • I understand your pain. It’s fresh and it will take over if you let it. I think the most unbelievable thing after discovering my husband’s affair was that I knew I still loved him and I wasn’t sure I wanted our marriage to be over. I knew if he wanted to leave then I would have to let go but I wasn’t going to be the one to walk away. Forgiveness takes time. Healing takes time. You are strong enough to fight whatever fight you are faced with. You can conquer this. You will be stronger than you ever imagined possible.
      I would recommend you read the book: “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” by Anne Bercht. Ignore the title because it made me not want to read the book for many months. But I feel like you may relate. I would even ask your husband to read the book too. It has perspectives from both the wife, husband and sometimes their children. Her story is similar to yours.
      Take care of yourself.

  6. I have just found out that my husband has been with someone else!! I can’t tell you how devastated I feel. He says he has only met up with this woman twice, and has kissed and touched her?!!! I only found out via a text that came through via my little boys (9yrs) iPod (which is linked to my husbands iTunes account). We have two children 9 &11yrs old and have been together for 12 years married for 5yrs. I am so confused I don’t which way to turn. I have just emailed the woman in question to find out some more information as I am not sure my husband is telling me everything. You see if I hadn’t have found the text he would never have told me and then how long could this while thing carried on for??? This isn’t the first time and we have since worked through that part of our life and I thought had come through it stronger and healthier, we are way more open etc etc. I feel broken I am so worried for our boys and the impact that splitting up will have on them. I rang my folks straight away and my mum just wants to kill him!!! Where do we go from here? thanks for listening.

    • I’m sorry to hear you are dealing with infidelity for the second time in your marriage. I am certain that if I hadn’t discovered my husband’s affair it would have continued until it destroyed us. I am pretty certain his affair partner was hoping to steal my husband for herself. But now you have the truth so you need to determine how you move forward. Is it possible to forgive again? What do you need to rebuild trust? I hope you find the answers you need. Take care of yourself and your boys.

  7. I cannot believe I finally found someone else with the same story as me. After my D-Day 10 weeks ago, My marriage is stronger than ever and we have been married 20 years. The sex is better. He seems to be trying to be a better man, Husband, Father. How could the worst thing to happen to me turn out to be my salvation as well?

  8. My DDay was his birthday Oct 22 ,2014. My hurt is still fresh. It feels like a paper cut and someone poured salt onto the wound. I don’t know what to do?

    • I’m sorry. The first few days were the worst days of my life. I remember crying non-stop, screaming in my car all alone, hating my life and regretting everything. It’s hard to believe me but you will get better. It takes time and the pain will come and go. There were times I felt like we took two steps forward and then three backwards. Eventually, we were taking huge strides forward with very few slip-ups.
      There were many times I didn’t know what to do so I just kept going. Sometimes you just have to trust that you will know instinctively what to do. The most important thing is to take care of yourself. Eat and sleep. Those were the two things I struggled with–make sure you try to eat and get some sleep. If you cannot go see a doctor or talk to someone who can help you. Take care.

    • Try the Love Dare Challenge. I started my 4 days ago. Things are changing in my house. Also watch the movie Fireproof. But you have to do it with an open mind and open heart. It’s not easy, I tell you. Good luck to all of us. God bless!

  9. I finally had a turning point. I hope others find this helpful. I realized I’m not the loser. I’m not the one that isn’t loved. My husband chose to dump the person he had his mistake with. They only had sex once. The mostly communicated via text and email. She didn’t get to go out in public with him. She didn’t get the best of him. Again she is the one that got dumped. He made a mistake. She got dumped via email. We have been married a long time and we both had stopped paying attention. I’m not excusing him. He made a huge mistake. He also is finally getting help for his depression. It was a giant wake up call. My marriage is going to be stronger and better than ever. Jus remember ladies that other person is the loser not you.

    • Hi Jody

      Wow… my situation is exactly the same. It happened in July and I decided that I won’t give up on us. I am so glad I didn’t. We started going for counselling with a local pastor and it opened our eyes so much. We are learning each week what our needs/expectations are from our marriage. (wish we could have gone before we actually got married) We were also growing apart. Yes it was a huge wake up call. I feel that I we were not giving each the attention that we wanted. It was always the kids first. Now that they are independent I can now concentrate on him and it really makes me feel good. He does not show his feelings much because he is a cop but he is slowly progressing in sharing everything with me.

      I feel that our marriage is growing stronger each day. Yes it still hurts but then I look on the bright side. I won!!!!

      • Right. It gives me all the power. My husband also does not show his feelings but I’m really starting to push him on that issue. I want he to respond and react.
        I’m with you I’m still an emotional wreck. It’s not about the loser. It’s just all the stuff inside that needs to get out. I’m glad there is someone like me. We are awesome.

  10. So today marks 1week and 1day that I found out my husband was cheating on me. Going through this has been the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. My husband and I have been married for 12 years and have 3 kids. The affair happened with his ex from way back which I know and was happening while I was in Alabama getting ready to move to Texas with my husband. (Husband is in the military so moved to Texas before my kids and I to get things situated before we came.) They had been communicating through his work email which he rarely used around me sending webcam videos to each other. I came across the videos on his computer while I was looking up pics for a timeline I was helping my son with. I honestly think the videos were to be deleted but missed the folder they were hidden in. I have so many mixed emotions and still trying to figure out why and what I want to do. I do love him but the thoughts of them are constantly in my head. He has apologized many times and has told me he doesn’t want to lose me and admitted to being a jerk and what he did was so wrong. He has mentioned that he’s ashamed and embarrassed for what he’s done. But as for me, I look at him and think of how he could hurt me this bad, why?, and if this is my fault. As of right now I feel as if he wants me to deal with it and just get over it. But its not that easy and I don’t think he gets that. At least that’s the way he’s acting. I just feel stuck! And, constantly thinking why?

    • I think I must have asked myself WHY? over and over until I had no more words. It’s a question you will probably never find an answer for.
      First, it is not your fault. There is nothing you could have done differently. His affair was not about what you did or said or should have done. I spent a year wishing I could go back in time and change one thing to set him on a different course. But until time travel is possible it’s not going to happen.
      You cannot be expected to just get over this and move on with your life. In fact, sweeping this under the carpet would be the worst thing you could do. I hope your husband can understand and support you because this is the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in my life. His reaction may be rooted in his own guilt. It’s very hard to look yourself in the mirror and accept you’ve hurt the person you love most in the world. That’s why many betrayers struggle to be honest with themselves.
      The thinking never ends… but you have to try to control it sometimes because thoughts will trigger you and spiral out of control. My therapist would tell me — acknowledge a thought and then change your focus. Children are an excellent distraction from the pain and endless thinking. Help them with homework, talk to them, do things with them and don’t let yourself get stuck in the cycle of sadness–you need a break from it.
      Take care of yourself…

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