20 Sep
An Affair to Remember

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband hates me. I had an internet affair about 2 years ago and although I have seen the error of my ways, asked for forgiveness, and tried to move on, he can’t.

Things were bad for many years before the affair, so our relationship was in terrible shape before that, and the cheating just seemed to crush it.

I don’t think he loved me anymore before it happened, and I don’t blame him for hating me now. The guilt for me is never ending. If I do anything that seems suspicious to him, no matter how small and insignificant, he accuses me of lying to him, and brings back all of the mistakes I’ve made into the discussion.

Do you have any advice? Is counseling the last chance? We have two little kids. I want the family to be whole, but I can’t even get him to commit to trying.

As it is, he told me months ago that he hasn’t decided if he wants to stay with me. So the stress of wondering if/when he will leave me is really making it hard to cope. I want to make things right, but at the same time, I feel like he’ll be punishing me for the rest of our marriage, no matter what I do. I don’t expect things to magically go back to normal, but this current situation is terrible and I have a really hard time dealing with depression, guilt, and feeling like I am horrible human being.

Please help,

Guilty

__________________________________________

Dear Guilty,

Oh, my.

Your marriage was in trouble and your extramarital affair didn’t seem to help matters.  Huh.  Whoddathunkit?

I will not pass judgment on whether your having an affair makes you a terrible person or not, but I will say that you need to find a way to make peace with what you did.  Learn from the experience, grow, but move on. Because the self-flagellation bit is not doing you or your husband or your children one bit of good.

You say that you want your family to be whole, because you have two little children, but let’s face it:  your family is shattered and has been for a while.  You think your husband hates you, you are destroyed by guilt, he is undecided about whether to leave you or not and the stress is eating you up inside.  These are not the Family Values that benefit anyone.

Instead of wondering if your husband wants to remain married to you, ask yourself if you want to remain in this marriage.  Not just “for the children”– for you.  I know that there are some people who think that when there are children, a marriage must be preserved at all costs.  I’m not one of those people.  If the parents aren’t fulfilled and happy, it will make its mark on the children.

If you do love your husband and want to remain married, you will need to see a marriage counselor.  Not only to try to mend your relationship, but to try to figure out where things went wrong in the first place.  Your marriage is in trouble. I don’t know if it’s salvageable or if it’s worth trying to save at this point.

If your husband is so hurt by your actions or if he no longer loves you for whatever reason, the two of you will need to figure out a way to co-parent effectively, without accusations and recriminations.  Because every child deserves that.

Good luck,

Marinka, TMH

 

20 Responses to “An Affair to Remember”

09.20.11#1

Comment by vodka tonic.

Great advice, Marinka.

I’d like to piggyback, your husband also needs to decide if he is able to forgive you and trust you again, or not. Once you’ve taken responsibility and apologized, he needs to make a choice. Your marriage has hit rock bottom. He can choose to swim up with you, or you both swim up alone. But he has to choose. You’ll both have to decide that your marriage is worth fighting for. Only you two can make that decision. No one else can say. He needs to decide if he can choose to love and trust you everyday. And not hold this over your head like a terrible Draw-4 Uno card. He can not play the card again in the future, if you both choose to work through this.

This comes from someone who was on the other side of an affair. My husband screwed around on me and was miserably married for a long time. I fought and tried to hold the marriage together. But I hated him for his mistakes, and I couldn’t get over it. At one point, I realized that I would never trust him again, and I could not move on with him. I made the painful decision to get divorced, more because of ME, than because of him. I was the one who was too small. I was the one who didn’t want to do all the hard work to repair what he (mostly) destroyed single-handedly. We tried therapy for awhile, but it was too little/too late, and I just couldn’t forgive and move on. I couldn’t choose to trust him again.

It is a lot of work for your husband to choose to love, trust and respect you, when that has been violated. And it’s a lot of work for you, to show him the same amount of love, trust (in that he isn’t going to dangle this over your head, and work through it with you), and respect. It’s just a ton of work on both sides. You both have to decide if that’s something you want.

I wish you both the best. Peace and clarity.

Plano Mom Reply:

What an awesome statement. My husband and I don’t have these kinds of trust issues, but we were pretty bad off, and didn’t make it, even with therapy, until both of us chose to let go of the past.

09.20.11#2

Comment by LR.

In my case, I was the one who had the affair, because things were so bad before it. Marinka is right on target here. You may think your husband needs to forgive you, but the bigger issue is that you need to forgive yourself. You need to understand what was missing that drove you to what you did. And you need to figure out if that missing piece is, or can be, anything you can find with your husband.

Counseling shouldn’t be a last resort… it should be the first one. You’ve got some work to do, regardless of what he chooses. Work on fixing yourself first.

09.20.11#3

Comment by Kathy.

There were a bunch of us kids whose parents “stayed for the children” and all of us wished our parents would just buck up and get divorced and move on because the misery of living with people who hate each other is more stress than kids need. Trust me kids know.

skrink Reply:

Absolutely. My parents had a horrible marriage. My dad cheated, repeatedly, and my mom was beyond unhappy. She always told me that she stayed because of me. Um, yeah, thanks mom. Change is scary, but avoiding it and then looking back on all those wasted years and saying “but I did it for the children” doesn’t fly.

meeeetoooo Reply:

Can I say ditto??? I am a child from 2 alcoholics codependent on each other. Still doing it. Now, my marriage is ending after 15 years…not because of alcohol or cheating, but because I never learned how to pick the right man in the first place. 🙁
I am hoping that my girls will get it right…….

09.20.11#4

Comment by Karin.

one of the first things my husband pointed out negatively about me is that I bring up the past when we argue – this was even before we were married. it’s unfair to fight that way. If you’ve already discussed it and sorted out/forgiven that topic/event, you can’t bring it up in an argument (you can revisit it, just don’t lump it into whatever you are arguing about right now – just like we want Congress to do: One Subject at a Time!).

Now, we’ve been married for 10 years now and I try to stay on topic when we argue. Sometimes, he’ll notice me darting around something, not arguing directly or concisely and he’ll calmly ask me to tell him what’s going thru my head so there’s compromise on both sides. Being heard is sometimes all I need to get over a hurt.

Bean Reply:

Excellent point.

09.20.11#5

Comment by Catherine.

I agree with the commenter who said counseling should come first. For you, first of all, because you’re just punishing yourself endlessly and that’s not constructive for anyone. But also, since it looks like your marriage will not survive, you and your husband need to find a way to become “friends” enough to parent together effectively. Otherwise, the issues between you will be coming up constantly in mutual parenting decisions, even though they don’t belong there. I don’t think staying together, at this point, would be constructive — in fact, it might be the case that you had the affair unconsciously as a way to get out of a marriage in which you didn’t feel loved.
My parents got divorced when I was a teenager, and it was about 10 years too late. Their bad marriage continues to haunt me. Get out, and start modeling for your kids what a good, loving marriage looks like.

09.20.11#6

Comment by Emily.

Marinka hit this one spot on!

09.20.11#7

Comment by StephanieG.

My heart hurts for you. I was one of those kids who watched her parents’ marriage implode, yet my parents never divorced. Growing up as the firstborn child of an alcoholic and his codependent spouse damn sure didn’t give me any frame of reference for what a healthy adult relationship should look like.

Don’t kid yourself. Staying in a marriage where you are terribly unhappy with a spouse who hates you hurts you, your husband, and your kids.

Get into counseling, and do it now. If you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for your kids. Because I’m sure you don’t want your kids making the same comment on a blog that I just made.

meeeetoooo Reply:

Hugs….shoulda scrolled down before I posted.

09.20.11#8

Comment by GraceR.

I do believe a marriage can be repaired if both partners are willing to accept that it is a very long process. You both have to be willing to be patient with each other. I have been on the other side of the affair. You have to understand that trust doesnt happen over night. It takes a while. We could all say he has to just make the decision to trust you but it takes time to regain trust once you have been hurt. Im sure you are hurting as well living day to day with your guilt. Learn to trust yourself again and believe that you are a good person and you are not what your mistakes are. Take.what you can from it and let it build your charcter. You cant hate yourself forever but at the same time there are things that will make your husband wonder. The key is finding a mature way to talk about those feelings so they can be worked through. At the end of the day we are all only human. Good luck to you. And dont forget to focus on your kids they are the ones who really need you.

09.20.11#9

Comment by N and Em's mom.

What you are describing is no way to live. While what you did is horrible, you don’t deserve to be punished for the rest of your life. If your husband is in this just to have someone to kick around verbally, then you need to take action. He may be forgetting that you don’t have to stay and take it. If you don’t know what to do, do what you would want your children to do if they were in this situation.

09.20.11#10

Comment by sisterfunkhaus.

I think you have to face the fact that if you stay with this man, he will never, ever let you live this down. He will most likely hold this grudge forever. If he still throws it back at you after 2 years, I can’t see how that will change. So, if you are willing to live with that, I say do what you can to save the marriage. If you can’t, then your only choice is to leave.

09.20.11#11

Comment by Angie Uncovered.

The above is the best advice you’ll receive no matter how much you keep looking. Actions speak louder than words. Whether it was you feeling unloved and abandoned by your husband which led you to seek affection elsewhere or his inability to either commit to making it work or leaving, you both need to make a decision to seek counseling or seek lawyers. Regardless this is not a healthy environment for the children and trust me, they feel it. I wish you both the very best of luck.

09.20.11#12

Comment by Pear shaped lady.

My hubbie had an ‘internet affair’ 2 years ago with a woman on facebook (who is married with 2 kids, the kids are from her husband’s previous marriage) I struggle with it on a daily basis. It’s like a big crack in our marriage and every now and then I catch my lip on it and it hurts! He’s nearly 40, is it a midlife crisis? Who knows, I would like to stay together for the kids as we all work well together, my hubbie is great with the girls, we are still have a regular sex life! But does that count? I know a few men who have left their wives and right up till the end they were sleeping together. I don’t get it. And now I find myself fantasising about another man! What the he’ll is wrong with me?

N and Em's mom Reply:

Nothing!

09.22.11#13

Comment by NewMommy.

Just remember that children, especially girls, absorb everything! They see far more than you think. Then when they get older and choose a mate, they are more likely to marry someone like their father. Case in point: My father was emotionally abusive to my mother for years, and it crushed her spirit to the point where she had no self esteem at all. Things ended up ok, they have worked through their issues and now have a wonderful relationship. However, that didn’t happen until after I left for college. Now, I find myself in the same boat. I’m married to a “wonderful” man, who can be very emotionally abusive. He was like this before we got married, so I knew what I was getting into. Now that we’ve had our first child, the comments hurt even more, especially because they are centered around my weight.

I know I rambled on, but here are my points. 1)Children pick up on far more that we think, and your home life will eventually effect theirs as adults. 2) Things can work out, like they did for my parents. There had to be a life altering event (my mother was diagnosed with cancer) for my parents to realize how much they need each other. But my mom forgave my dad and let it go. He also decided from then on to treat her with love and kindness.

Hope everything works out for you 🙂

09.22.11#14

Comment by scrambler4201.

We had a similar situation at my house. My husband like to advertise himself as a “swinger” to strangers online but cannot honor his husbandly duties to me. My big trespass- the kitchen counters were sticky one day and he can’t seem to recover from the horrible indignity he suffered. Point is-some men suck and will not be happy until they crush you like a little bug. I wish I had opted to have some fun on the side.Wonder why you sought the attention? Because you didn’t get it at home. We are blamed when the jerks stray but somehow it doesn’t go both ways.

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