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?

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

  1. My husband told me three days ago that he has been sleeping with other women for the past two years! I was in shock for about 24 hours I didn’t understand how he could do this to me and our daughter! At first I blamed myself because we haven’t been having as much sex with the new baby and this article has really helped me because all I’ve wanted to do was make love to my husband and I didn’t tell if that was right or not! I’m so scared and I feel so alone!

  2. In march 2014 I discovered my husband had been using dating to sext other women. I was working as a fast food manager nights so we didnt have to pay daycare. In nov actually nov 2 to be exact I seen an email confimation pop up on his phone for a craigslist add for making plans to actually meet up. So he thought this out and did I mention these are with other men. I mafe him move out as ots has been a very emotionally up and down roller coster for ten years now. He reached out to his boss and entered in to a sober house style living situation. On feb 2 three months to the day I seen another confirmation for am adultfriendfinder webiste that he had signed up to on jan 8 th. Today I finally decided to end it becuase I have given so many chances but I dont know if it is the right choice. This is my xurrent situation. A little background in 2009 we seperated for six after being xontact by local authorities involving sexual abuse on children on a boys home he had attensded when he was 12 and other boys gave his name as a victim also. He denied the whole bit I was working 65 hours a week and didnt see the signs. He moved out and moved four hours away to his sisters we planned a six month break and he said he thought he would be happier living up there. He wanted me and the kids to move with him so I did. But not for the right reasons. He said it would be a good time for me to get a job if I came up then. But I was in love that I went. Ofound out nov 8th 2014 that while we were previously seperated he had indeed cheayed on me with multiple women.
    I am so confused. On one hand I have moments of great strength that finally this hell is over with. But on the other hand I have him telling me he loves me and doesnt it to be like this but he also had never been alone and doesnt know if he is just scared of being or just that messed up from his past that he doesnt know how to love me without hurting me. All I asked from was an effort to work on us. While I knew changes werent gonna happen overnight some needed to lime the no more adults and treat me with respect. I was willing and was living apart taking car of our two special needs children so he can jeal himself. I go back and forth on wether I love him as a husband and want to help or feel sich pity because the journey life led him through. I am so co fused do I just let him go or fight even more to keep him. I am so confused. He jas sttod in my way of so many opportunities every promaotion at any job was always tampered with by him. I am so lost the thought of freedom from haye and lies is amazing. But the thought of never having his arms around me again or anything lime is tramatizing. I feel lime such an idiot because truthfully he was horrible to me no bdays cards or gifts no cooked dinners or breakfast for motherdays. A friend tod me when I forst found out to take a gift from and burn it. I entertained the idea even looked for something and realized in the 10 years of marriage I did not have one trinket to call my thay was from my husband. He was such a horrible person just won me with words why cant I let go. How do I let go

    • You have to take care of yourself first and foremost. Make sure you are getting what you need. It sounds like you know that your husband has inhibited your happiness, success, and life many times. You need to make decisions to empower yourself. Love yourself. If you need to speak to a therapist then find one that will help you work through this struggle you feel. You can take the steps you need to take to be happy, be strong, be you again.

  3. Thank you for your openness and transparency into your marriage. I’m grateful for your article. My husband told me yesterday evening about his affair the night before. Although I am broken, I believe he may almost be in worse condition. I am devastated of course. I never saw this coming. I have (had) the marriage that everyone envied. We were happy. We had great communication, We laugh. We go on dates. We don’t really fight. But he is a professional DJ so he is offered alcohol at a lot of his gigs. And as of about 2 years ago, he was never even a drinker. Saturday night he was wasted. Out of his mind wasted. Anyway, on occasion the 6.5 years we’ve been married, his ex girlfriend from nearly 8 years ago would text him. Well, him being in the right state of mind, he would always ignore her texts. Well not this night. She happened to drunk text him that evening as he was leaving a wedding and things went way wrong. He immediately jumped off her the minute he made the mistake. Anyway, the guilt ate him up and he told me everything, down to the last detail, as well as he’s gone to his parents, my parents, and our pastor seeking wisdom and forgiveness. He would have never made such a drastic mistake if he were in his right state of mind. I know he loves me and my daughter very much. He is also seeking counsel regarding the alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, he has stained our once spotless marriage and I don’t know what to do. Like you, I always knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would never stay married to a man that cheated on me. But, I married a good man, I know I did, and although his mistake seems unforgiveable, I know that he is hurting too. He loves me and I know time will heal if I’m willing to forgive but I think I need a few days to grieve.

  4. Hi, I hope you can read this and maybe give me a little insight. The other night my husband went to the apt hot tub and was drinking. He does this regularly with his friends and sometimes I will go too. Friday night though, I didn’t want to go because I was exhausted so he alone with friends. Some other people were there too and I knew who they were having met them on a previous night. He came from the hot tub at 3 in the morning while I was sleeping. The next day, (valentines day), he came home from work I noticed a hickey on his neck and wouldn’t take off his scarf. I didn’t mention it to his until after he got out of the shower because I needed some time to relax about the possibility of him having sex with someone else. I confronted him and he said that a box of something dropped on him at work. (He’s a contractor). Today, the 15th, I went to the girl’s apt who I figured it was and told her I needed her side of the story because I already had his. (Which is a lie, but oh well, it worked). She told me that my husband was actively pursuing her and saying she was so beautiful and she said to him, well you’re married but she still had sex with him anyways. We have been married for 1 year. We have both been married before. Someone please give me advice. We both have always said that if either of us commits infidelity, then we will divorce. We don’t have children. Now I’m not so sure I want to leave even though that’s what was said but I don’t want to seem like a doormat because I’m so in love with him still.

    • Did you end up confronting your husband yet? How did he react or what did he tell you? I can’t tell you if you should stay or go. I wish I knew the answer but you have to trust yourself to be able to figure that out. Before my husband cheated I always told him I would cut his dick off if he ever cheated. It was a running “joke” but I wasn’t entirely joking. It didn’t stop my husband from cheating because when a man/woman is in the moment they don’t think they will get caught. Affairs don’t invalidate a marriage but they sure do a lot of damage.
      Talk to your husband. Find out the why he thinks this happened. He may not have an answer right away. My husband’s first response to me was his own denial, the reasons he told himself to make it okay to cheat. None of it was real. It was how he justified his behavior though. It didn’t take long for my husband to recognize that all those lies he was telling himself were just that, lies. But the most important thing is to take care of yourself first and foremost. Remember, none of this is your fault. He cheated, he chose to have an affair, and he did not include you in this decision.

  5. I’ve been with my husband for 10 years and married for four years. Before we got married he cheated on me and I was able to forgive and accept him back. Just yesterday I found out he was cheating on me again and with the same woman as before. I confronted him and asked him to leave the house. He pleaded and said it was over and that he was going to tell me. We have a baby together. It’s odd I don’t hate him for it but extremely hurt. Our marriage was starting to fall apart. We lost our spark so I felt somewhat responsible for the marriage getting to this point. We talked about what happened, about how hurt I was and how I gave him opportunities to walk out and that I asked before he ever cheated on me to leave me. I told him that before we got married I was asked if I was marrying him because of comfort or love and back then I couldn’t answer. When I was asked again I was able to honestly respond that I love him. I realized we were pulling apart and I told him I realized that too late. I also told him that despite what he did I stilled loved him but couldn’t see myself trusting him again. He started breaking down in tears, tears I’ve never him cry before. It killed me. Just a few hours later and all I can think about is him and how I want to run to him and hug him and just wish things could work. I asked for time apart so we are planning to move out of the apartment until I can sort my feelings.

    I don’t know what to do. Stay or divorce?

    • It’s hard to sort out feelings for someone you love and have spent 10+ years with. I found it difficult to see my husband upset when he was the one that created the pain we both felt. But in the end, he had to take responsibility and show me that he was committed to fixing what was broken. I hope you can find the answer to your question. Stay or divorce is a big decision…. hopefully, you trust your instincts, listen to what you’ve been told.

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