Valentine, you cannot use my name. My wife cheated on me. She told me this about seven months ago and it has been hell in our house.
We have three kids and I think they are the only reason I am still here. She says that I was ignoring her and that after she hit 40 her sex drive has gone up and she was lonely so she had a fling. I am furious and us guys aren’t like women. A woman cheating on a man is worse than a man cheating.
I want to cheat on her as well. Sometimes I think I can forgive her and other times I hate her so much I can’t go home. My friends are wondering why I am now staying out later and drinking more but I can’t tell them. It is true I have been busy; I started a business two years ago and I was focused on that. What do I do?
I am going to call you Phillip and say thank you so much for writing in. I am so sorry about your marriage and your errant wife. The only reason I am inclined to agree that a woman cheating is worse than a man cheating is because for most men, their wife is their solo source of emotional connection and the bonding.
A woman in your situation would have one or two girlfriends she can share her pain, humiliation and anger with. Now that your wife cheated, trust has been breached and what was once your safe space to share your anger and hurt has been violated. Not only are you humiliated, you have nobody to talk to and figure this out. You feel isolated, violated, angry, lonely and ashamed.
Philip, you won’t like what I am going to tell you. I cannot tell you to end your marriage or stay in it — that is a very personal choice.
However it sounds like you are inclined to stay. If you stay, then you and your wife are going to have some very uncomfortable conversations about responsibility.
She says she was lonely and you can see how that happened and even take responsibility for that. She cheated and that was her decision, another woman might have slapped you to get attention, and yet another would have bought lingerie and insisted on date nights once a week.
Yours cheated. Will she cheat if she gets lonely again? What keeps her from getting lonely? Does she only cheat when she is lonely or is something else happening? Who was this guy and is the fling over?
Dr Phil McGraw says that we can only forgive infidelity if we feel that the cheater has heard and understood what their actions did to us.
She won’t enjoy it, frankly neither will you, but you have to tell her how she has hurt you. You will then have to work at forgiving her, which means letting go of that tape in your mind playing ‘she hurt me, she cheated’.
That tape is preventing you from going home at night, it will make you bitter and it will poison everything about your marriage and home. You have to stop the tape.
It might take years for you to both forgive each other and come to terms with this. Your marriage is forever changed but you might get to a more honest place in it. Counselling is a very good idea and you can try www.amanicentre.org for free services.