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I have been married for nine years, things were good until recently I found out my wife has been cheating on me. To hit back, I also started an affair and it is the worst decision I ever made. Our marriage is literally broken as my wife now sleeps in our daughter’s room, both of us erred and I think it’s time to call it quits. I love her so much and the thought of leaving her is killing me slowly. Please advise on the best decision to make right now...
What the readers say:
Two wrongs do not make a right. When you decided to do the very thing she was doing, you made a big mistake. You need to talk to each other and find out where the problem was or is. As it is you might have to seek counselling from a professional relationship or marriage therapist.
The best thing you can do for now is sit down with your wife and talk this out. The fact that you are still living in the same house means both of you still think the marriage has a chance of survival. However, you must adress the root cause of the problem. Nine years is a long time that you shouldn't let go to waste.
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Discovering your partner has cheated or is still cheating is difficult. It can turn your entire world upside down and elicit intense feelings of anger, betrayal, rejection, abandonment, and many others feelings. You wanted to get back at her but be informed that retaliation affairs can damage your relationship’s chances of recovery as well as your own emotional well-being. Your marriage has lost its foundation and even if you forgive her, there is a likelihood she might do it again. I think it is high time you call it quits and move on with your life.
It may be a pity that even with the health and social risks, you still risk to go ahead and cheat just because she did it. You both need to admit the mistakes you committed and make decisions that are good for both of you. This may require a marriage therapist.
Cheating in relationships is a difficult affair for all that are involved. To the victim, it causes strong emotional and psychological distress often leading to high levels of anxiety, mistrust and deeply engraved pain. Many times the victim tends to blame themselves often looking for inadequacies that could have led to the other person looking elsewhere. This also exposes the victim to risky behaviour of wanting to get even by cheating on their partners as well hence creating a viscous cycle not good for any of the parties.
When people cheat on each other, they lose the most valuable element in relationships which is trust. Once broken, it takes a long, long time to rebuild and it is in some instances never rebuilt. So even when the perpetrator is not cheating, they are always perceived to be cheating hence the continued urge for the victim to cheat. With where you are at present only one thing is going to solve your issues and help you move on peacefully and this is acceptance and forgiveness. Acceptance helps the victim deal with the situation and paves the way for forgiveness. You need a candid discussion about this, open your heart to each other and try to find it in yourselves to forgive each other.
Things may not be as bad as you think and she may just be saying these harsh things only to hurt your feelings because she is bitter with what you did to get even with her. Do not fall into the temptation of cheating again just because of what is going on. Deep inside, she is also looking for an opportunity to talk with you just as much as you want to talk with her, it is only that none of you wants to be the one stooping too low. The reality is that in a relationship there is no such thing as stooping too low for someone you love. You both want to be with each other so the issue of stooping too low is not applicable. If anything, even accepting to talk to a spouse that has cheated on you when they reach out to you is still stooping low.
Walking out of the marriage should not even be a card on the table. Cheating while painful and devastating is never enough justification for breaking up a marriage or relationship. It pulls you apart yes, but there is much more that is holding you together. This is just a phase that you had to go through and it should help to strengthen the bond between you and her. Talk about this and look for reasons as to why you need to forge ahead together and you will see that these will be more than reasons as to why you need to break up.
Simon is a relationships counsellor
Infidelity is a horrifying experience for any marriage, with far reaching effects. It hurts more people than intended and the individuals find themselves going further than they expected. Therefore, although two wrongs do not make a right, your cheating was reactionary and has made things more complicated.
Unfortunately, the revenge has not equalised the offences but instead it has made your marriage too toxic. As things are at the moment not much can be achieved. Both of you are hurting deeply and we could say that your wounds are very raw. Any form of intervention for now, will not only be futile but also hurt you more.
I suggest you give yourself time and if necessary, space too. This is by no means a divorce. It is break from the toxic environment you have created. This will help both of you look at the situation more objectively and clearly, as things stand your minds are do clouded.
The break has to be of a reasonable stretch because as you have mentioned you still love your wife. I believe the same applies to her regardless of the chatting that she is doing. The chatting could just be her own way of protecting herself from the emotional pain and guilt she is going through.
Then at an opportune time embark on a reconciliation. Preferably get a counsellor or a trusted couple to walk with you in this process. The process may not be a smooth one but I encourage you not to give up. Give it time. Have honest conversations, let each one of you see the part they played in the whole issue. The tone should be re- conciliatory rather than accusatory.
All the best.
Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology and loves to share her knowledge in matters of life and relationships.