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Question
Posted by: Sad | 2004/01/31

Husband cheated - I want to tell her husband!

I've written to this column before about my husband of 7 years who had an affair for 4 months. He confessed, ended the affair and wants to continue with our marriage. It's been 3 and a half months now and things are still very much up and down. We are seeing a marriage counsellor and I think will continue this until I am sure if I should continue or end my marriage. When he told me, I felt so desperate that I would have stayed in this marriage no matter what. Now I feel different. I've been thinking a lot about my marriage and what kind of person I am married to. We've been VERY happily married for 6 years and he had so many qualities which I admired. One problem we always had, was the fact that he finds it hard to show his emotions and that he is not very affectionate. I've learnt to live with this over the years, because I though that he was honest, trustworthy, hardworking, ambitious, fun to be with, helpfull around the house, we share the same interest etc. Now that he had the affair, things have changed. I don't think he is honest & trustworthy any longer, he still battles to show his emotions and be affectionate (he claims it is because he feels guilty about the affair) and I now know that we don't have the same values (which is VERY important to me). We don't have kids yet and I am not sure that we ever will. We could hardly make it work without kids, how will it be possible to make this marriage work with kids? I love my husband very much, even after what happened. At least he was man enough to confess and tell me everything. For that I will always respect him. He keeps on telling me that if we get a divorce, it would be the biggest mistake of our lives.

My biggest problem is my feelings towards the other woman, who is also married with 2 kids. No-one knows that she had an affair. I've been battling with this since the day I found out. I've been through hell (lost weight, can't sleep, battle to concentrate, cry every day, lost interest in many of my previous hobbies etc) and she is going on with her life as if nothing happened.
I really believe that her husband has the right to know and that he should then decide if he wants to continue with his marriage. I also believe that if she doesn't face the consequences of what she had done, she will not learn anything from this and possibly do it again.
MY PROBLEM: I don't know her husband at all and am so scared of what he might do to my husband.
I want to phone him and tell him about his wife, but I don't want to tell him who she had an affair with. What if he questions her and she tells him?
Should I take this chance or should I just go on and always regret that I didn't do it, because believe me I will regret it!

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Our expert says:
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Dear Sad,
Volcano emphasizes a crucial point --- telling the Other Woman's husband guarantees that that poor man is as hurt and haunted as you are now, punishing him, and doesn't mean that she will necessarily be greatly bothered or learn from the experience. You do need to continue with what you are doing, working towards being able to make a wise decision for your own benefit, about your own life --- and your happiness must not be made dependent on her becoming unhappy. Yes, you will need, in the course of counselling, to decide about whether to continue within your marriage --- but telling the other wronged spouse will never be a cause of increased happiness for you, for him, for their children, or for anyone who deserves it.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Sad | 2004/02/02

To Carmen
After reading your e-mail, I realise that I should count my blessings. I am still young (early 30's) with no kids and I CAN start new. I love my husband very much as well and I really don't want a divorce. I wish that I could help you - I wish that someone could help me! One day I am feeling up and the next day down again. Friday & Saturday I was so happy and yesterday I cried the whole day! Everytime we go for counselling I feel a little bit better. You have to do it - for yourself! I've also bought a book, which might help you - "Heal The Hurt - How To Forgive And Move On" by Dr. Ann Macaskill. Please buy the book - I am sure it will help you if you want your marriage to work. Forgiveness is a long process and I am working towards that, but I am very far from it. In the book they say that sometimes people will hurt you so badly, that it is impossible to forgive, but you have to draw a line beneath it and move on. I do believe that the only way for me to move on, is to do what I feel in my heart is right and that is to tell her husband or to give her the opportunity to tell her husband. They are probably already divorced - she told my husband that she is going to get a divorce. The reason I didn't tell immediately, was because I was in shock for 3 months! I couldn't make any decisions, because I wasn't thinking straight. I don't think it is every too late to do what you believe is right. I know that this could backfire and cause more problems between my husband & I, but I believe if we are meant to be together everything will work out.
Everyone always say that they would want to know if their partners are cheating, but now everyone tells me to keep quiet. I don't understand this.
Good luck Carmen - I really wish from the bottom of my heart that your marriage works out.

Reply to Sad
Posted by: Carmen | 2004/02/02

Dear Sad
I've written to this column last week and I keep on looking for answers. Please go and check my case under “Affair with” name Carmen. I think we have a similar case, but in my case I’ve been married for more than 22 years, have 3 children (age 21,19 and 16). My husband had an affair for 3 months with a women 10 years younger than me and has fathered a child. He went to see the child. (One month old now). It is not important for him now to see the child, but I am sure he will in future and I don’t think I’ll be able to handle it. He agreed not to have the child have his surname. He confessed because he could not live with the secret any longer. He ended the affair 7 months ago.
I can see than we have the same relationship as you and your husband. However, my husband is understanding and affectionate. He shows his emotions and I am quiet sure that he loves me and wants us to rebuild our marriage. The rest of your story is the same as mine.
I am dealing with the same emotions as you, but only for 1 week now. How can you help me? Please tell me about your feelings and what lies ahead for me? What happens at a councelling session? Chances are almost 100% that we can keep this thing secret to the rest of the world as it happened a year ago and nobody knows about it. I don’t know if I must tell my children in future and if so, when? In a year’s time? I am so confused. I feel empty. Just yesterday I was looking forward to the future with my “new” husband, but today I cry and can’t eat.
We love each other very much and I think I have forgiven him, but I am not sure. We ‘ve always had a strong relationship and a very happy marriage.
My advice to you is to hang onto your man. It is always worth it to save a good marriage. I wish I could be as strong as you.

Reply to Carmen
Posted by: Kernel | 2004/02/02

You should have informed the other party immediately when you found out about the affair - it would then have been easier for you to get closure on this experience. It is now a bit too late to do that and you should rather concentrate on your own future - with or without your husband.

You are fortunate that no children are involved on your side - it is always the children (the innocent party) that get hurt the most in situations like this. Your problem is already half is big as the other husband's - not much consolation though!

You will have to decide after counseling what is best for you - to continue with your marriage or to divorce him and start afresh. If you decide to stay with your husband remember that you must forgive him unconditionally and you should never bring up the subject again - what is past is past. The only problem remaining then is TRUST. You will find it difficult to trust him again and that will put huge strain on your marriage. You must decide if you want to go through it.

Personally, if I were in your shoes, without kids and and still young, I would start afresh. This thing is like cancer - you cannot see it but it is there in the background and slowly eats away at your soul.

Good luck.

Reply to Kernel
Posted by: Zeena | 2004/02/01

I agree with Volcano too. I know it's hard and you want some sort of revenge, but there are too many chances that revenge might boomerang. Rather concentrate now on your marriage -- to see if you want to save it or ditch it. And yes -- don't have children until you know exactly where you stand.

Reply to Zeena
Posted by: Mary | 2004/02/01

I agree with everything Volcano said.

Reply to Mary
Posted by: volcano | 2004/01/31

Dear Sad, continue to do what you are doing at the moment, working on your marraige and try to forget about the other woman's. Possibly breaking up her marraige will not let you feel any better. Two kids will now be without a dad (normally) and some innocent man will hurt like you are hurting now. Also, the danger will be there that your husband may decide that it may be lot easier to go to this woman if he feels that you will not forgive him. In that case all the innocent people will lose out and the guilty ones will be together. Your husband may get hurt and it will not be your problem if she does it again. Concentrate on your marraige and your husband. I tend to agree with him that it will be a big mistake to get divorced. Work with the councillor and I know you will be blessed for going the extra mile.

Reply to volcano

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