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So Your Spouse Is Having an Affair

Hope Kulin is a cancer survivor and a life survivor. Her hubs are her personal accounts of dealing with cancer, alcoholism, and adultery.

Take Some Time, Think Before You React

Take Some Time, Think Before You React

It's funny how life will throw things at you. In our case it has been pretty much everything in the book: Cancer, Mental Illness, Alcoholism, Porn, and Affair... I am sure I am missing something but for purposes I think it is enough! This article will be dedicated to the affair and options you have once you know about it.

There are a number of emotions you will feel but really only two options open to you at that time, it is completely up to you which option you chose; however, the thought process behind both must be thought out logically preferably with the help of a certified counselor in order to have the best possible outcome for your family. I will tell you my choices and why I made them.

Option 1: You can divorce or leave the no good cheating scum bag.

Option 2: You can try to save your marriage.

Option 3: You can try and save your marriage and fail.

Option 1: Leave the No Good Cheating Scumbag

For anyone who has not been through it or does not have children this is the first (often visceral) response you will receive. It makes sense doesn't it? They broke the marriage vows, they broke your trust, they obviously don't care about your thoughts or feelings, and clearly they want out of the relationship. This is the emotional side of you speaking and believe me when I say I get it.

In our case we have a 10 year old daughter and essentially no assets to speak of. He has made it clear he would give me absolutely everything and wants nothing but to be able to have time with our daughter. The divorce would be quick and we could both get on with our lives... But not really.

If we did that, our daughter would be left with shared time between mom and dad. She would have trust issues for the rest of her life because Dad didn't honor his commitment to mom and Mom didn't fight for it with him. She would have to decide who to spend holidays with, where she wanted to spend the night and take time away from her friends to spend time with the people who should be there for her no matter what.

I would never date or marry again. Yes, I know, never say never, but how could I ever trust another person again much less a man? This is the man I have spent 17 years with, and he is wanting out because I got sick and changed.

He may date again at which time our daughter would need more counseling because she has already verbalized that she feels like he is trying to replace me which is not what a dad or husband should do.

Financially we would both be ruined for the rest of our lives. With little to no assets we would both be starting over again at the age of 40.


Option 2: Figure It Out, Make It Work

This option seems harder at first. The emotions are telling you everything is over and it is dead. The world is telling us that it is better for the kids to have two parents separate than to see them fight. The bible says we are clear to leave our spouse if they cheat. The law says we can divorce and there can be a contract to determine how we will divide assets and time with the kids. It seems easy right? But what if there is a part of you that simply can't accept this as the best option? It is time to dig in your heels and fight for your family.

The first thing to accept is that you had a hand in this as well. Yes, you heard me right. They may have cheated and you may not see at first how you could have possibly contributed, but let me assure you you did. In my case I gave my husband too much time and space leaving him feeling alone and abandoned. In fairness, I thought I was helping. I honestly thought he needed the time for school, not to schedule hook ups with women online, NSA (I found out later that means no strings attached).

Realizing your part in the problem will allow you to start to rectify it.

A major factor here is that your spouse must also be willing to at least try to figure things out. They need to get counseling on their own, as well as be able to have serious conversations about what happened. These conversations will be painful and hard for both of you, which is why I highly recommend having a counselor of your own.

Notice I say counselors, NOT friends. A recommendation I would make is that you NEVER discuss what is going on with family or friends until you are sure what you are going to do. If you do and are able to work things out, your friends will forever be mad at your partner. If you don't work them out you can then discuss freely and let them know that you were working on things which is why you did not talk to them first.

Understand that your marriage did not break in a day and it will not heal in a day. Often the one who cheated is not going to want to participate but if they are willing to, it is up to you to hold back your emotions and let them figure it out. If you don't you will be back to option 1 faster than you can blink. The fact that they are willing to do any portion of this should be considered a positive. Be prepared for months, not days, months of them saying they simply don't see a positive outcome or that they emotionally don't care about the hurt they caused. Remember, if they did, they would not have done it in the first place, but if they are getting help there is still hope.

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Option 3: When Making It Work Doesn't Work

We were told going into this that it would take at least a year for us to know where we would end up. Being who we are we thought we could go faster, but there are some things in life that simply take the time they take. Be prepared to put in the time. Give it your full effort, even when you don't want to. Go to the counseling, go on dates, try to find a spark again, but know that it may not work. You cannot change your spouse.

Be ready to split but make sure you are not doing it based on emotion at that point. It is a split that you cannot avoid. Make sure you have fully thought about the ramifications not only for you but the whole family. Here is a reality: Children are NEVER okay when their parents split. It is NEVER a good option. It will ALWAYS have horrible and detrimental affects on the child.

Still, if you cannot do it, then it is your responsibility to do it as adults not children lashing out. Find a way to make sure you never bash the other in front of the children, don't fight in front of them, suck it up and figure out what is best for them. Plan ahead and have as many bills paid in advance as possible. Don't be caught off guard.

If possible prep the children for what is going to happen. Let them know that you still love your spouse and you love them.

Abuse Changes Everything

Let me make a quick point here that at no time is abuse accepted or tolerable. Physical or emotional abuse must be addressed immediately with hard line consequences for both.

Physical abuse is immediate grounds for getting out of the situation. At that point it is a matter of safety nothing else. If you fear physical abuse make sure to plan accordingly and have an exit strategy in place.

Emotional abuse is not okay either, but it is something that will probably happen through the course or at least it will definitely feel like it. When these things happen, calmly explain that while you are willing to work it out, you will not be talked to this way and clearly let your spouse know what they said, how you felt and why it is unacceptable. It is more than okay to create hard line rules about how you will and will not speak to each other through this process.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


dashingscorpio from Chicago on October 31, 2016:

Best wishes!

Hope Kulin (author) from Tampa, FL on October 31, 2016:

Dashing, thank you for your response, many of your points are ones that I have thought of and am working through myself (obviously!).

I appreciate your input and am sure many others will as well. I am still in the middle of my own emotions and as you said every case is different, yet the same. For now, we are on the trying to make it work phase of things. And yes, my husband is jumping through hoops, not begging for forgiveness as you put it, but in our case (which I have documented in other hubs) I would say extenuating circumstances would be an understatement.

I agree whole heartedly that he cheated in order to stay and when he was caught the decision became what we could do if possible to get the marriage back on track. I will definitely keep you posted!

dashingscorpio from Chicago on October 31, 2016:

Each of us gets to (choose) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

Each of us gets to have our own boundaries and "deal breakers".

Having said that people often surprise themselves when they are actually faced with a situation. There's a difference between "life" and a "hypothetical"

Oftentimes people jump towards forgiveness after being cheated on because they're still in shock over the betrayal that the thought of going through a divorce on top of it is simply too much to bear.

Having said that it's not uncommon however for a person to later reach the conclusion that they can't forgive no matter how much contrition and transparency their spouse provides while bending over backwards to regain their trust.

With regard to your experience I sensed that your choice to try and make it work had more to do with (you) than your daughter. The truth of the matter is we live in an era where divorce hovers around 50%.

A divorce just means a mistake was made in one's mate selection.

Children are also very resilient unlike the "after school" specials that are portrayed on TV, children would rather be (from) a broken home than to live in one! They would rather their parents to be apart and happy than to sense tension and resentment or worse observe heated arguments.

Lastly we teach our children especially our daughters what is acceptable in marriage. If your daughter were told she should stay with her cheating husband just because she has children with her; may seem like the 1950s.

Other factors that go into making such decisions is if the woman is financially independent, has a successful career, and high self esteem.

Generally the more options one has the less crap they will put up with.

You said: "I would never date or marry again. Yes, I know, never say never, but how could I ever trust another person again much less a man"

I believe that is core reason why you made your choice.

The reality is most people who have gone through a divorce for whatever reasons eventually date or remarry again. When you say you'd never be able to trust another man what you're really saying is you don't trust yourself to choose a trustworthy man!

You never stated if your husband begged or pleaded for forgiveness.

If {the cheater} isn't jumping through hoops to try and make the marriage work odds are they're not truly sorry.

There are three basic cheaters

1. The Incessant Cheater

This person has never been faithful in any long-term relationship. They get bored easily and are always looking for the thrill that comes with being with someone "new". Their motto: "Variety is the spice of life!"

2. The Unbelievable Opportunity Cheater

This person is not "proactively" looking to cheat. They may have had a secret crush on someone, an ex from the past connects with them, or there's a person who they consider to be hot... hits on them! Essentially making it known they can turn their fantasy into a reality. Maybe they're out of town on a business trip or their mate is out of town which makes it feel like a "once in a lifetime opportunity". They cave to temptation.

Sometimes this cheater confesses weeks, months, or years later to absolve themselves of the guilt they've been carrying around.

3. The Discontented Cheater

He/she blames YOU! If you hadn't done or stopped doing whatever they never would have stepped outside of the relationship. They felt neglected, unappreciated, or taken for granted. Someone else came along and made them feel "special" again. The other person complemented them, flirted with them, and told them their spouse was not treating them the way they deserved.

Most cheaters who get caught will swear they're the "discounted type". This is also the type where a betrayed person is more likely to forgive assuming they believe they did contribute to causing the affair.

Ultimately both monogamy and cheating are choices made by the individual. A discontented cheater believes they have three options.

1. Accept their marriage will be forever sexless or unhappy for life.

2. Run down to the courthouse to file for divorce, move out of the house into a one bedroom apartment, become a weekend dad, pay child support, divide up assets along with friends and family as they choose sides.

3. Find woman who does desire him physically or emotionally.

Most people who cheat aren't looking to replace one relationship with another. Their goal is to hold onto all that is "good" in their primary relationship while addressing their other "needs" on the side.

They cheat in order to STAY or tolerate their unhappy marriage. Whatever is the cause for their cheating they don't believe it worth going through a divorce over. (Unless they get caught and are forced to.)

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