We Were Married But Living Separately When My Spouse Cheated

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from people who are not at all buying their spouse’s excuse for cheating when the two of them were living apart. Often, jobs, responsibilities, or circumstances outside of their control mandate that they have to live separately for awhile. Often, there was no clear understanding that these living arrangements meant that the marriage was ending or that the couple was separated. This misunderstanding can become really important when one of the spouses cheats and relies on the living situation as justification.

A comment that you might hear in this situation is something like: “my husband was laid off last year. We held on for as long as we could, but we were at risk of losing our home after about six months of unemployment. My husband was offered a temporary job out of state and we really had no choice but for him to take it. Housing and food are included in his salary so everything that he was making could be sent home. Well, one day recently, he texted me and it was clearly a text that was not meant for me. He accidentally texted me an email that was meant for the woman he has been cheating on me with. When I confronted my husband, he said that we were as good as separated since we hardly ever see one another and are no longer living together. He said that he was lonely and that I shouldn’t blame him. I was stunned by this. I am obviously well aware of our living situation. But I just saw it as something that we had to do. Our marriage did go through a rough period because of the stress of never having enough money. But I never thought that we were on the verge of breaking up. And I never considered myself to be separated. I honestly thought that once his temporary job was over, he would come home and we would resume our married life since we would now get to keep the house. Now, my husband is alluding to the fact that he might just stay where he is. I’m floored and enraged by this. To me, this is cheating, the same way it would be cheating if we lived together. I certainly wouldn’t cheat on my husband just because he wasn’t living with me. Where do we go from here?”

I certainly can give an opinion on this, but I can’t make a decision about moving forward, as this is a decision that only the couple themselves could make. What ultimately happened in the future was going to depend upon what they both wanted moving forward. The husband had indicated that he may stay put in his new home, but this could honestly be posturing. He may have said that just to put in the wife in the position to be begging him to come home.

Before she did that, she needed to ask herself what she really wanted for both the short and the long term. Regardless of the circumstances that surrounded this, I felt (and I think the wife also felt) that this was still cheating.
Regardless of whether the husband was lonely, he still needed to take responsibility for this.

At some point, the couple would need to decide what they wanted to happen with their marriage. And, if they did stay together, they would probably need to reevaluate the temporary job situation. It would be very difficult to save your marriage when you weren’t living together and when you were worried that, because of the distance, your husband was going to get lonely and cheat again.

I think that they might consider the husband coming home for a while as the first course of action. They weren’t going to be able to talk in any meaningful way if they were apart and not physically in front of one other. Once he came home, it would probably be easier for the wife to obtain more information and easier for both of them to determine what happened next.

In my opinion though, recovery for this situation would be like recovery for any affair or any cheating. You must restore the trust, complete rehabilitation, and rebuild the marriage. I don’t think that there are any short cuts or exemptions just because the husband was away. Many spouses cheat when traveling on business and they have to work very hard to save their marriage just like the spouse who cheated while living under the same roof.

Sure, his being away was likely a vulnerability that would not have been present if his job loss hadn’t forced him to take a job in another state. And this was unfortunate and not the husband’s fault. However, all marriages go through stressors. And part of that commitment to your marriage is being faithful in times when it is easy and in times when it is difficult.

The wife might take the difficult circumstances in consideration when deciding if she wanted to try to save the marriage.  But to answer the original concern, I agreed with this wife. I considered it to be cheating regardless of the difficult circumstances. That doesn’t mean that this couple couldn’t recover. But it would likely take some work. And it would probably be a lot easier if the husband came home. Since he’d made a good deal of money with the temporary job, hopefully this would be possible.

My husband also cheated while away dealing with business.  Those circumstances did not make a bit of difference to me.  I didn’t see any distinction between this and cheating at home.  And our recovery was just like recovering from any other bout of cheating.  If it helps, you can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

Comments are closed.

  • RSS Infidelity Articles By Katie Lersch

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Posts