Is It Possible to Find Hope after My Husband Cheated?


I think that I have

by Anonymous

woman standing by the ocean

A few months ago, my husband finally admitted that he might be interested in seeing a therapist. He has been spiraling in a space of anger, sadness, fear, and anxiety for months as he battles his PTSD-induced depression, and yesterday he finally made the phone call. Or, well, he said he did. The day before, he had taken a half-day at work, and then gone out for drinks with co-workers. He said he would let me know when he was heading home—and he did, at 1am.

Not too big of a deal, right? Except… it was. Because this hurt me. It hurt me because he had been bailing on plans with me for weeks, because he didn’t want to make plans, because he was exhausted all of the time. And I get it: depression is an energy vampire. But when he was happy to stay out late with others, with people who are not me, I got upset. I felt like he was telling me that he wanted out—out of everything.

When he got home, we talked about it. I felt like we had a good conversation about our feelings, even, and I asked him to show me he was committed by calling the therapist the next day.

That evening, after I got home, he said he called the therapist. Then he said he needed to be alone, and he went upstairs. I went upstairs to take a shower, and assured him I would leave him alone if he needed that. He started crying, and I went to comfort him. He kept saying, “I don’t deserve you, you are so good to me, I don’t deserve you.” He repeated this over (and over and over). Finally, while my arms were wrapped around him, he said it.

“I slept with someone. Last night.”

I’ve never recoiled from him so quickly. I cried, I screamed, I hurled every hurtful, true thing at him I could, and then I hurled a slipper. He sat there, crying, looking so small. I kept asking why. Why why why why why why. We had everything he wanted. We bought a house. We have a yard. We got a dog. Next year we were going to start having kids. We both had jobs. We liked each other’s families. Why would he want to compromise all of that?

“She made me feel light.”

In that moment, I felt that nothing could have hurt me more. When you’re married, you share your baggage. You have emotions, families, histories that you have talked about and worked to manage together. You have expectations and hopes, dreams and ambitions. In marriage, you can feel happy. There may be brief moments where you can forget all of the shared baggage, but you will probably not make the other person feel light. It is an unaskable task. An unachievable goal.

“Do you still want to be with me?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you love her?”

“I don’t know.”

what happens next?

That night, he left and went to a friend’s house. At least, I thought that’s where he went. That’s what he told me. I didn’t hear from the friend until my best friends, my bridesmaids, called to ask if my husband made it.

He said he decided to go to a co-worker’s house. My stomach dropped even further than I knew it could.

Why did he keep lying?

At that moment, I just leaned in to all of it: the pain, the mess. The fear. I told him to figure out what he needs. Therapy? Fine. A more intensive program? Great. I just wanted him to take care of his mental health, because I couldn’t believe this all happened because I was not something good to him.

I told him after he gets help for himself, we’ll talk about us. I asked him not to go to her house. I asked him to not be alone with her if he could help it, because if he saw her privately again I would lose this fragile line of hope that we can repair our relationship. And I need that to keep going on.

That’s what I do now, I keep going on.

Anonymous

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  • Alynae

    Oh this is shattering. Thank you for sharing and I hope that glimmering line of hope is still there for you whether it’s in your marriage or just in your own spirit and strength.

  • Ashlah

    Oh, Anonymous, just reading his words felt like a punch to a gut. I can’t imagine how it must feel to be living it. I am so sorry. I am so angry on your behalf. Thank you for sharing your story, and please take care of yourself, regardless of how things turn out with your husband.

  • H

    I am so so so sorry Anonymous. But none of this happened because you weren’t enough. I don’t know why it happened, but you have to know that it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with him. It’s his mistake, his selfishness, his failure – not yours.

  • Jess

    I am hoping with you. I am so sorry that this was a thing he chose to do and I hope it isn’t a thing he continues to do. I hope he can start to get the help he needs to stop hurting. I hope you continue to know that this wasn’t something that happened because you weren’t good to him.

    More than anything, I hope that you continue keeping on until you find yourself in a place where it isn’t so hard to keep going. I hope you have people taking care of you, to help when you are tired of going on.

  • AP

    “I told him after he gets help for himself, we’ll talk about us.”

    It sucks so much, and it’s terribly unfair, but I really believe this is your best course of action in this moment. How he moves forward (or doesn’t), how he decides to pursue healing (or not), will eventually tell you everything you need to know about whether or not he can give you what *you* need and be the person you need him to be. And while he’s getting his help, you take care of yourself all the other ways you can (as I’m sure you are.) As other commenters have said, his choices aren’t your fault. My heart goes out to you <3

  • Jesselyn

    Oh honey. I have been there. Except he didn’t have depression he was just fast and loose with those boundaries – pun not intended. I remember in the haze of that time, I didn’t know what to do or where to go from here and remember thinking “this is why people get divorce. Like you KNOW what to do there. There are very clear processes in place for that and you can even get a lawyer to do that for you and just sign the dotted line.
    Hope and working through it is so… fuzzy. I don’t like fuzzy.
    Beyond him though, I hope you are finding some self care for yourself. People who have been cheated on have basically the same brain chemistry and those who have been through a traumatic event. Beyond that, being with someone with depression is hard on a person. Day by day, breathe by breathe, you can do it. I promise.

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  • AnonToo

    One thing I’ve noticed in my relationship with my long term partner is that it feels like rough patches and hard issues compound each other. PTSD, depression and infidelity each make it harder to work on the other two, almost like emotional and material resources are available in an inverse proportion to how much they are needed. No advice, just solidarity.

  • SarahRose472

    This was beautifully written, and so heartbreaking. I’m sorry this is happening to you.

    These lines particularly resonated with me as just so true:
    “When you’re married, you share your baggage. You have emotions, families, histories that you have talked about and worked to manage together. You have expectations and hopes, dreams and ambitions. In marriage, you can feel happy. There may be brief moments where you can forget all of the shared baggage, but you will probably not make the other person feel light. It is an unaskable task. An unachievable goal.”

  • Christy

    I am so sorry. This sounds like SO MUCH to deal with.

    I will say, I think your spouse can make you feel light. Yes, marriage is a heavy commitment, but that doesn’t mean marriage shouldn’t ease the burden of the rest of life.

    I’m speaking as someone married for not even a year, so I know I lack real road testing. But I hope for you and your husband that you can get (back?) to a place where you can make each other feel light.

    • EF

      yeah, I kind of agree with this too. there are times when it is *harder* to be around my partner than with others, and this has been in really selfish times (on my part) sometimes, too. but we talk about it, and acknowledge it, rather than trying to ignore the dark monster in the room. for us, it tends to be resolved if I head home (to the USA, we lived in partner’s country) for a week or two; I feel recharged from the light *my people* give me, and it helps a lot. I’d be worried if long-term, we didn’t make each other feel that light, but ups and downs? that’s just part of life.

  • Dunked@mywedding

    So so sorry to hear of your hurt. Keep protecting yourself and yes, know that you are enough! https://fwmj.threadless.com/designs/you-are-enough

  • Hi Anonymous, I am so terribly sorry you are facing this. This kind of betrayal is brutal. Please make sure you are protecting yourself. By this I mean in every way: your emotions and needs, your finances (keep an eye on them to make sure money is not going away from your marriage and/or freeze joint accounts if things seem like they are going bad), your physical health (try to eat and sleep as best you can and please get tested for STDs, even if you think there is no risk, because he has already demonstrated that he is not putting you and your well being first), and your future. I would advise you to see a lawyer just to inform yourself of your rights and potential courses of action so that you are ready for whatever future scenario happens. You do not need to tell him you are doing this. He did not tell you before he slept with someone else. Protect yourself.

    But most importantly, watch his actions. People can say anything; their actions tend to reveal a much clearer picture. And he should not try to rush your healing or minimize your pain, but should instead be fully understanding of every emotion and difficulty you have. If you want links to articles and book/blog recommendations, I’d be happy to share some that were very helpful for me. Just email me via the message box on my blog (which you can find through the link in my name). I’d be happy to be a listening ear if you need someone to talk to. Thinking of you…

    (Also, like you already pointed out, him saying she made him feel light sounds to me like he doesn’t like the “weight” of having adult responsibilities…)

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  • Hevynn Bolen

    My husband and I went through this same thing. We wrote about our story, the UPS and DOWNS in our last post on our website http://www.beingbolens.com under the post L O V E spells what? Please check it out!

  • Ai

    It’s all terribly unfair. And it will be hard to remember that none of it is your fault. Because none of it is your fault! This is all stuff he needed to deal with and rather than facing your life together with you, he chose the easy way out.

    You can work this out. He can work through his issues. The question really is how much do you both really want your relationship? That’s what it really all comes down to.

    Always remember this: Love yourself first before anything or anyone else.