About a year ago I found out my husband had cheated on me

Cheating is something unacceptable for me but because we have two daughters I decided not to break up the family.

However, now I am struggling to forget and forgive what happened. I feel like I cannot trust him. Without trust, I cannot stay in this relationship. On the other hand, I do not want my children to get hurt. I'm not sure how to move forward?

Danielle Alvarez
Danielle Alvarez
Licensed Professional Counselor

First of all, my heart goes out to you. Infidelity is an extremely challenging obstacle to overcome. There are some things that you should consider. First of all, did he seem truly remorseful? If you felt in his heart that he was truly sorry for what he had done, it will give you a piece of mind that it was a  mistake. 

Secondly, was he forthcoming with this information? How about with answering your questions after the truth was uncovered? If you found that he was still lying or not forthcoming, the sting is even more painful. He should be able to answer any question you have honestly and without hesitation.

Thirdly, has he shown a positive difference after this experience? At this time, he should still be proving his faithfulness to the marriage, you and the children.

Keep in mind that experiencing infidelity is a form of grief. It is not a quick process that can easily be overcome. What you are experiencing is 100% normal. 

My best suggestion would be to see a marriage therapist. Find out what drove your husband to cheat in the first place and decide if this aspect in his life has been resolved. I know its important for you to keep your family together but children can sense anger and frustration, this is not a healthy environment either. If you decide that you can no longer remain in the relationship, a therapist will also be able to help you cope with the separation along with addressing your children's needs.

Please know that you are not alone and that unfortunately, many relationships have endured this very thing. It may also be helpful to reach out to people who have experienced similar obstacles. The web is a great resource to find groups whether online or in person to use as a support or sounding board.

Best of luck to you and your family!

Earl Lewis
Earl Lewis
Relationship Expert

To begin, I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Like many of the professionals have stated, infidelity is a very difficult obstacle to move forward from. It's not impossible. While forgetting is probably the hardest part, forgiveness is something that can and will happen. There are things you can do to help yourself. 

The first this is identifying what you feel is best for yourself and your children. That means being honest with how you feel being in this relationship on a daily basis and understanding how it's affecting you. 

Second, how is your relationship affecting the children. Do you feel that by staying in the relationship that it's affecting your daily interaction with them. If so, that' something to keep in mind. 

Next, Really looking at the pros and cons of staying in the relationship. A specific breakdown of what benefits come with staying and what are the ramifications. Vice-versa for leaving. Include your partner. I think being honest with him and letting him know what you are thinking is could be a great option. At least you aren't keeping something inside yourself to manage. Rather, you are being transparent to them. Sometimes a couple can come to an agreement that it may be time to end things and other times it may be best to keep moving forward with a serious plan to how to move forward. Regardless, if you can't trust him and that feeling will never go away it's time to address it. Couple therapy can be beneficial as well as a therapist can provide professional counseling to you. 

Earl Lewis

www.RelationshipsGoneRight.com

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Aimee Beardslee
Aimee Beardslee
LGBTQ Affirmative Therapist and Gender Specialist
It is completely understandable that you are struggling to forgive and forget this betrayal, and I'd like to echo the sentiment of Danielle Alvarez: infidelity takes time to heal from, so allow yourself to grieve and find the support you need. I'd highly suggest going to couples therapy and addressing all the issues that Danielle raised, especially whether he has expressed genuine remorse and is being completely transparent with you and is taking responsibility for the choice he made, including acknowledging the immense impact it had on you, your relationship, and your ability to trust him. 

If you have doubts about being able to trust him, he needs to be willing to earn back your trust and do whatever it takes to do so. If he accepts this challenge, then that is a good sign you are on the path toward healing your relationship. Also, please don't ever forget that regardless of what led him to cheat, it was his decision to take that action rather than addressing whatever issues he was having in your relationship. Couples affected by betrayal typically have some underlying issue(s), whether it is a lack of connection or intimacy or another factor, and it is possible to heal and grow even stronger as a couple after betrayal. Because you are grieving, though, allow yourself to acknowledge and accept your feelings of hurt and pain, as they will likely come in waves, but the pain will lessen over time and with supportive therapy, along with the commitment to repair your relationship-from both you and your husband. 

Also, in regards to your concern about hurting your children, keep in mind that parents model healthy relationship behavior for their children. If your relationship with your husband remains disconnected, untrusting, or bitter, your children will see that and not only feel sad that their parents are both suffering, but also grow up feeling that experiencing such ongoing pain is tolerable or even normal in a relationship. Having parents who learn to handle conflict or heal deep wounds in healthy ways is crucial for children's emotional and psychological development. Whether they see you heal together as a married couple or heal separately as loving but divorced co-parents, they will learn what it is like to expect healthy communication and boundaries in relationships, which I'm sure you want for your children! Take care of yourself, and I wish you much peace and healing. 

Also, here is a good book I would recommend, along with books by Gottman, as Rebecca Wong suggested:
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Rebecca Wong
Rebecca Wong
Relationship Therapist & Connectfulness Consultant

Let's just start with acknowledging that trust is huge and betrayal hurts. You're entitled to your feelings; all of them and you need to know that your husband understands you. That said some ways are more effective at rebuilding and repairing relationships that others. I am a big fan of The Gottman Method for couples therapy, especially following infedienity. You can read about this approach in Gottman's books: "The Science of Trust" and "Making Love Last" and/or you can seek a Gottman Certified couples therapist here: https://www.gottman.com/private-therapy/ 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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