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?

487 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.

  6. I have been married for 14 yrs. My husband works on and off overseas. We have two children when I was pregnant with my second child 6 yrs ago I caught my husband cheating on me. We went through counseling and we continued our marriage. Everything was back normal. This was when he was working here in States living with us he cheated. Now he has a job overseas and I caught him cheating on me again but this time it really torn me up. I saw pics on social media of his mistress posting flowers on his bedroom( where I slept during summer vacation for two moths) her saying feeling loved . I send her message I am his wife to please stop seeing my husband. I know I humitiated myself by sending her a message.So I told my husband why he admitted it was mistake and he asked me for divorce. He told me he is not with her anymore but he just wants to stay friends with me because It was not right for me to write to his mistress, so in case he doesn ‘something stupid ‘ again I won’t say nothing. I really love my husband I ynought we were doing good we had plans to build a house of our dreams. He used to call me everyday tell me I love you. Few days ago I saw a pic of the mistress she posted flowers that my husband bought her saying (6months I’m blessed to met you, I love you) this is my husband hand writing. I didn’t say nothing to him no more. For two months now he doesn’t call me, he only calls to speak to our kids, so 3 days ago I send him letter saying I want to come to you or you come home so we can discuss this and move on. He replied saying ‘right now, I’m not ready to do anything I will be home in three weeks and will discuss. He continue saying he was stressed and doesn’t want to talk right now with me. All this time I have been a good wife and good mother to our children. I don’t know what to do now, i have 2 small children and I go to school full time I have one more yr to complete bachelor degree. I don’t have a job at this time. No family near me… I am so confused all this time he lied to me he loved me and I trusted him. Please someone give me an advice!! Should I divorce or shoud I try to work on our marriage. Thank you to all

    • Your husband’s decision to cheat and have an affair is not a reflection on you as a wife or a mother. His decision to cheat is because he is lacking something and he is allowing this other woman to fill the void instead of coming to you. It’s difficult to be vulnerable. Sometimes it’s more difficult to be vulnerable with our spouse than with a stranger because we don’t want to disappoint our spouse.
      It’s not okay that your husband told you that you cannot contact his affair partner. You are his wife and you have the right to protect yourself and your children.
      If your husband will not come home earlier than expected then I would recommend you prepare yourself for any scenario that might occur. You may need to seek legal advice. You may want to have what you want to communicate to him prepared too. Know what you need to ask him and know that you will need things too.
      Take care of yourself and your children.

  7. Last night my husband told me that four years ago while he was working overseas that he cheated on me. That was in the beginning of our marriage and we just had our daughter. Now its 4 and a half years later and we just had our second child and I’m still in a state of shock. I just feel like our whole marriage/ relationship has been a lie. I’m so hurt and confused and have no idea what to do. Our marriage seemed perfect and I believed he truly loved me but now I’m no longer sure. So sorry if my comment is all over the place, i guess its indicative of how I’m feeling at the moment. He wants to know if I’ll leave him and take the kids but as of right now I just can’t get over the hurt and betrayal.

    • What led him to tell you? His guilt?
      It’s hard to know what to do when you find out something so shocking. I always thought I would leave my husband if he cheated but here I am trying to rebuild my marriage. There is so much pain in discovering your partner’s betrayal. I felt like I was almost powerless… not sure what to do but I didn’t feel compelled to leave so I stayed. I think it can be totally different for everyone though. Some woman need time away from their husband for clarity. Listen to yourself. Whatever you need ask for it. Tell him how you feel. Tell him what you need. For me, I needed to go to therapy together and separately. I need transparency in his life. I needed to try to learn to trust again.
      Take care of yourself first. Don’t let the pain be your focus all day long. Allow your children to distract you- you will need that break from it all. Do something for yourself (be selfish). I hope you can get to a place where you find an answer in time. Be patient.

  8. Hello,
    I have read many of the blogs that you have all left and many of them have helped me in terms of understanding that infidelity is far more common than I ever realised.
    I often thought or maybe even presumed that affairs or infidelity took place in ‘unhappy’ relationships, but the more I have read and come to understand infidelity the more I realised I couldn’t be more wrong which leads me to my position.
    My partner and I have been together for almost 2.5 years now and from the moment I met him I was besotted! I discovered messages eight months into our relationships on his vibes account that he had been sending to another woman, my world in that split second seemed to disappear. I was hurt, confused and had this overwhelming feeling of both disgust but also humiliation. He had been messaging her for months, almost in the same way he talked to me.
    It took me 3/4 days to speak to him because all I wanted to do was cry, but I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. We spoke about it and I agreed to try and rebuild our relationship, yet almost two years on I am still struggling with the deceit.
    I don’t know how to bring it up with my partner now because it was so long ago but to me it still hurts the same.

    • It’s hard to bring up the past after a certain point. My husband and I don’t really discsuss the affair anymore but we have an agreement that if I need to talk about the affair that he has to listen. I guess the fear is that will our partner hear what we are trying to say or will they only become defensive and hear what they need to hear. I do think you should find a way to talk to your partner in an open an honest way. You can’t bottle this stuff up because it will end up harvesting itself in your life in some other way.

  9. Help.. I feel so torn. My husband and I have been together 13 years and I know if two times in the past.. Over 6 years ago where he cheated on me. That strained our relationship to the point that we bearly have sex, I can’t kiss him and now I find out he has been having an affair for the last year. He says he loves me and doesn’t want to lose his family but when is enough enough? I live him but in not in live with him and he feels the same. He even got the girl pregnant and she had an abortion.. And she was a former friend of mine!! I don’t know how to deal with this and all the pain in feeling. He is still living with me but we are separated. He said I can have sex with someone else as long as I don’t tell him about it…does he even live me to say those things?? I am so confused. I do live him and want to make it work but on the other hand I don’t want to be a door mat. I want to feel loved and happy..I’m just sad and discontented and that has been since the last affair. Hd says we never got over the last affair he had and I pushed him away.. Which is true…

    • I’m sorry that you are dealing with so much in your marriage. While your husband may be partially correct, it may be more that you haven’t been able to move forward – the pain is still fresh for you. Moving forward is a process and takes time. And a huge part of healing is feeling supported by the betrayer (your husband). How can you even try to trust him again when he’s cheating? You did not push him away – he has removed himself from accountability from his affair. He is accountable for helping you heal, giving you anything and everything you need to take steps forward and rebuild your marriage. My d-day was 2 1/2 years ago and while I feel like I am mostly healed – I still have so much further to go. And keeping our marriage strong and healthy is a constant committment from both of us.
      Will your husband go to couples therapy with you? Regardless, you should go alone too. My therapist was able to help me move past issues that I was stuck on. She was supportive and helpful even in my lowest moments…. I hope that helps.

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