My Family Is Upset That I’m Staying With The Husband Who Cheated.

By: Katie Lersch: Wives who are dealing with the aftermath of an affair have more than enough to deal with, including themselves, their husbands, and their household.  Unfortunately though, the truth has a way of crossing the threshold of your home. And eventually, other people can learn about the affair and have their own opinions about it.  This can cause additional stress – especially when you want to save your marriage, only to find that those who you love oppose this.

Here’s a typical scenario.  A wife might say: “I have always been very close with my parents.  They have always liked my husband.  They live down the street from us.  Our children stay with my parents after school.  We go over there for Sunday dinner every week.  I did not tell them about my husband’s affair.  But they found out anyway.  My husband told his sister and his nosey sister in turn told my parents.  My mother called me and announced that she hoped that I was going to kick my husband out.  I told her that things were too raw for me to make any decisions.  A couple of weeks later, I decided that I wanted to at least try to save my marriage — if for nothing else, then for the sake of my kids.  When I told my mother about this, she had nothing to say.  She was so silent that I thought that she might have hung up the phone. I asked her if she was still there and her response was: ‘I am speechless.  I can’t believe that you would allow him to treat you that way and stay. I can’t support this decision.  I think that you are being very stupid and are not showing enough respect for yourself.  Do you really want your children to grow up with a cheater for a father? How could you have so little respect for yourself that you would allow this?’  I was so upset that I told my mother I had to go and I abruptly got off of the phone.  But now, I am reflecting on this and I am very upset.  What my parents don’t know is that my husband has promised to never cheat again and to immediately go into counseling. They would not even let me explain that we have a plan in place to heal all of this.  I would not stay if we didn’t.  And my husband is always going to be my children’s father, regardless of any decision that I make. My parents have always been a great source of support to me emotionally and financially and I am afraid that they will remove that support.  It hurts me that they won’t support me.  How can I address this?”

Just For A Minute, Try To Put Yourself In Your Family’s Shoes: I can imagine how much this hurts.  I think that the first thing that you want to do is to understand why you might be seeing this behavior.  I know that it doesn’t feel like it right now, but your parents are likely acting out of love for you, even if it is misplaced.  Imagine how you would feel if your own child were going through this.  Imagine that one of your children was hurt by infidelity.  Most people would feel very protective of any child in that situation.  It’s natural and human nature.

At the same time, it would deeply hurt that child if you were to act indignant and angry instead of supportive.  The child might think that you were mad or disappointed in them, even though they were not the unfaithful party.  Ultimately, it’s important to be able to support without judgement and pressure.

Know That Time And Proof May Change Things: Your parents may be able to let this go in time.  Right now, it is all very raw.  They are shocked in the same way that you likely were.  They likely need some time also.  In the same way that your husband is going to have to prove himself over and over again to you, the same is likely true of your parents.  If, time and time again, he shows himself to be a rehabilitated and caring husband, they will likely come around. But it is going to take time.

When things calm down, you might try to have an open conversation with them that goes something like: “mom, I know that you are outraged on my behalf and I am touched by that.  I know that you are concerned about the kids and I am also.  I do not want for my kids to grow up in a broken or single family home. That is why I want to see if we can make it work.  We are going to go to counseling and we just have to wait and see if that will help.  I feel that I owe it to my children to try and make this work.  If I can’t, then at least I know that I have tried.  I know that it will take a long time before you trust my husband again.  But I would like for you at least give him the chance to prove to you that he can be rehabilitated.  I know that you may not be able to support him right away. But I am asking you to support me.  I am doing what I think is best for my family.  And I am asking you to respect that.  I need your support right now.  I don’t need judgements or shame.  I am doing the best that I can in a very difficult situation.  I know it’s hard for you to watch me being hurt.  But having your support would help me with that.  Can I count on you?”

When you phrase it this way, most parents will rise to the occasion and support their child.  It is hard for a parent to watch their child be hurt.  But most parents can eventually put this aside in order to offer their support.  It may be hard for your parents to see your husband in the same way – at least for a little while.  And he will have to accept that he has to prove his worth – in the same way that he must prove it to you.  But in time, it can be done.

There were some judgements from my own family in the aftermath of my husband’s affair.  It wasn’t an easy time for anyone.  However, today, enough time has passed and enough healing has taken place that all of the relationships have been repaired.  It certainly wasn’t easy or quick.  But it did eventually happen. You can read more about how we accomplished this on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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