My Cheating Husband Says He Loves The Other Woman But Is Staying With Me Because Of The Kids

By: Katie Lersch: Whether or not to stay together after your husband has an affair is a decision that almost no one takes lightly. Knowing that your spouse has cheated on you makes you doubt the very foundation of your marriage. It makes you doubt that you will ever be happy with and confident in your marriage again. And for some, this is all the information needed in order to determine that they probably want to walk away from their marriage. But this decision is not so easy when there are children. Because if you are childless, then your decisions only affects yourself. Often, you are prepared to live with whatever decision you make. But when you have children, you know that they too are going to have to live with your decisions. And it is a very difficult decision when you have to decide whether or not you want to take your children’s full time nuclear family away from them. And that is why many people will entertain the thought of staying in their marriage even after cheating and even if the other person is still involved. The kids change everything.

A wife might explain it this way: “my husband is very honest about how he feels about the other woman. He doesn’t even try to hide this from me. When my best friend’s husband cheated, he tried to downplay his feelings for the other woman, saying it meant nothing to him. Well, my husband is just the opposite. It is quite clear that this woman means absolutely everything to him. He hasn’t even alluded to the fact that he would give her up. In fact, I’m quite sure that he has no intention whatsoever of giving her up. However, he announced that he was going to stay with me because of the kids. We both agree that we never want our children to grow up in a single parent household. He knows this. He knows that I would do just about anything to ensure that my children do not grow up without their father in the way that I did. So while I’m relieved that my kids will have their family, I still feel like I’m getting an unfair deal. Because he’s asking me to accept a marriage where he keeps the other woman. I am not sure that I will be able to do this.”

I am not sure that I would be able to be at peace with this arrangement either. I’m pretty certain that most women would feel exactly the same way that you are feeling. He’s asking you to accept much less than you deserve. And he’s assuming that you don’t have a choice in this matter because of the kids.

I absolutely agree with you that having a two parent household is the gold standard for children. In fact, my own kids was one of the deciding factors in my decision to stay with my own husband. I applaud both of you for making this a priority as not all parents even consider the children when making this decision.

But I am not sure that growing up in a household where there is openly infidelity is a great for the kids either. It’s pretty safe to assume that if the arrangement continues on, your marriage is going to be negatively affected. There is going to be awkwardness and resentment and no real union. Your kids are likely to pick up on this. So, I would think that it would be important for your husband to understand that he’s fooling himself if he thinks he can continue on with the affair and have it not affect his children, as long as he doesn’t leave the home and remains married to their mother.

And I would suggest trying to make him understand this. I’d try a conversation like: “I am relieved to hear that you are putting the kids first. I agree that it is very important for their well being to weigh heavily into any decision we make. But, limping along in a marriage that isn’t committed because one parent is with someone else isn’t the ideal situation either. It isn’t fair to me and it isn’t fair to them. I can’t commit to a marriage in which my spouse isn’t fully faithful. I just can’t. It’s clear that you are not ready to give up the other woman. Until that time comes, I don’t think that we can really do anything with our marriage. I can’t work on it in good faith until I know that there isn’t any one else. When that time comes, please let me know. Otherwise, I suppose we will just continue on because of the kids. But please don’t think that this is a marriage. Because it’s not. I may reevaluate what I want in time because I don’t know if I’ll want to remain in a marriage where my husband won’t commit to being faithful. I’d be more than willing to go to counseling in order to work through this and I hope that you would be also.”

I’d like to bring up one final point. No one has thought about the possibility that the other woman isn’t going to be satisfied being with a married man indefinitely. It seems that the husband thinks that he will just stay married and continue on with the affair. It would be rare for the other woman to accept this arrangement for the long term. Most of the time, she is hoping that the husband is going to leave his wife and be with her. If he has no intention of doing this, then she may solve at least one of your problems by being the one to end the affair.

Try to remember that you do have choices. You don’t have to just accept what he offers you without negotiating it. And I’d suspect that if you go to counseling, the counselor will make it clear to him that the arrangement that he has in mind just isn’t fair or feasible.

I know that you probably feel like you have very little control right now.  You may feel that you just have to watch and wait to see what will happen with their relationship.  But you can control yourself.  You can control the environment that your children live in, at least as far as you are concerned.   When I felt like I was stuck or in flux because of my husband’s affair, I tried to turn the attention back to myself.  And this helped a great deal.    You can read about my own healing on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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