Question: Dear Luise: I have recently found out that my husband of 3 years has been cheating on me. We have a 19 month-old daughter together, and I’m devastated. I accidentally came across a restaurant receipt for 2 people in his pocket while doing laundry and after that I decided to check his cell phone, where he had very sexually explicit messages from and to her, thanking her for the “night before” etc. It was clear that they had sex the night before. HOWEVER despite this, he is continuing to deny anything happened with this girl. Instead, he is being very defensive and angry with me, refusing to talk about it, and making me feel awful on a daily basis. I feel he is constantly lying to me – whereas if he had just told me the truth in the beginning, we could have worked through it. What should I do? Should I leave him now? Is a cheating spouse really a “good” enough reason to tear our little family apart and undoubtedly affect our daughter in a negative way? I feel so lost and sad. L.
Answer: Dear L.: Your husband’s behavior is very childish. He thinks he can bluster his way past the glaring evidence of his all-too-common infidelity. If he was mature enough to admit to his weak character, you might be able to factor that in and go on, but his decision to counter-attack with denial and anger is a decision to continue to hurt you. It’s abuse. That’s what deliberately hurting another person is called…abuse. He is the one tearing your little family apart.
Some women choose to take it and some choose to leave. I think it’s unrealistic to stay but it is, of course, your choice. No one can tell you what to do.
I have been there and I tried to stay. I didn’t catch my husband in the lie; he came to me (this was decades ago) and told me about the three-year affair he had just ended. I tried to be rational and compassionate and to get that he was human and so was I. But in the end…I left. I was able to forgive him but I wasn’t able to ever trust him again. Trust is fragile. It is given so willingly but when it’s broken…it’s just gone. Blessings, Luise