He Cheated And I Stayed. Now I Wonder If I Made A Mistake.

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who have long dealt with their husband’s affair. And, they are still in their marriage. Because they chose to stay. And there are various reasons for this. But now as time has passed, and perhaps circumstances have changed, they are questioning if things may have worked out in the way that they should have.

So you might hear the concern voiced like this: “my husband cheated on me very early on in our marriage. I stayed with him because he seemed very remorseful. And also, I was embarrassed to walk away from my marriage so early when all of my family and friends poured so much effort into my wedding and when all of my hopes and dreams were so wrapped up in it. I was very idealistic and I thought that there is only one person for every one. My husband apologized and promised to change his life style. He made good on this promise at that time. And we just moved on with our lives. I tried very hard not to think about it. I was new in my career and we needed one another in order to afford our new home. So I felt that it was in my best interest to stay. Fast forward seven years. We now have two children. My career is more successful than his. I’ve seen many of my friends divorce and remarry and be perfectly happy. I have seen friends leave cheating husbands and be much better off for it. I do not think that my husband has cheated on me except for the one time. But, he takes me for granted. And I noticed he’s starting again with some of those behaviors he was doing before he cheated – staying out late, not listening to me when I talk, and just seeming to be quite distant. Now I am questioning my decision to stay with him. I have made my own career. I could support myself. My only concern is my kids. What if I made the wrong choice?”

I understand this concern. I was worried that I made the wrong call myself after my own husband’s affair. But here is something that I firmly believe. Deciding to stay doesn’t mean that you can not negotiate going forward. Sure, you made a commitment to stay. But no one said that this commitment was nonnegotiable. You can always change things if they are not working for you. And, you can always tell your husband which things in your marriage you want to change.

This is only my opinion, of course. But I do think that more care should be taken once children are involved. Sure, your divorced friends seem to be happy now. But revisit them five or ten years down the road once the newness has worn off, and you might see an entirely new reality. Things aren’t always greener on the other side of the fence. And before I assumed that they were, I believe that I might try to green up the grass in my own yard.

As I see it, you may want to get still, get quiet, and ask yourself if approaching your husband or trying to implement some changes might bring about some improvements that might make you much more content with the way that things are. I’d like to give you one more thing to think about. It seems pretty clear that early in your marriage, your objective was to forget about the affair as soon as possible and to move on as quickly as you could. Although this can feel like a relief at the time, it can cause serious problems later.

Since you potentially didn’t address the issues, you may still be feeling resentment about that. But nothing says that you can’t revisit them now. And doing so may help you to leave this behind for good.

Before you make the drastic decision to leave or to walk out, you might try a dialog like: “I need to talk to you about something that has been bothering me. I don’t want to let it fester and damage our marriage. I have noticed that you have been coming home later from work and seem to be distracted. I could be wrong in my perceptions, but when this happens it makes me remember all of the hard times after the affair. And I realize that we never really healed. We just tried to move past it without doing any work on our marriage. As a result, I think that there are some areas where we are really struggling. I’d like for us to work really hard or maybe to see someone to help us. At the time, I was so young and I tried to pretend that everything was OK when it really wasn’t. Now, I can look back and see that I didn’t do us any favors by pretending and I would like to remedy that now. I think that there are some things that we both need to do in order to make our marriage as good as it can be. Are you willing to do that with me?”

You might be surprised to learn that your husband has also been feeling the disconnect and is more than willing to do something about it. If so, then isn’t it worth it to try rather than to tell yourself that you have only been wasting your time? Honestly, I’ve never been sorry that I stayed with my husband.  But I worked tirelessly to create the marriage that I wanted after the affair. You’re welcome to read more about my experience on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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