Dear Wendy,

I recently found out my husband is having an affair. I had been having this feeling that something was wrong for a long time, but he denied anything was going on. Recently I checked his phone when he wasn’t looking and I found out I was right.  At first, he denied and said I was crazy, but he finally admitted it and said he realizes he wants our marriage. I don’t know what the truth is anymore because I would have never seen him as a “cheater”.  I wrestle with being sad then angry. I don’t want to end my marriage, but I don’t know if I can ever trust him again. Please help.  ~ Saddened

Dear Saddened,

Cheating is usually a tell-tale sign of one or two things:  there is a problem in the marriage or you are married to a self-absorbed narcissist. If it is the later, there is not much you can do because they have little empathy for what they have done and will most likely do it again. But take heart. Most indiscretions are consequences of underlying issues of unspoken stress and unfulfilled needs for one or both partners.

Affairs are often tried on for size: convincing ourselves that if we feel attraction for someone else we must be married to the wrong person rather that look at our own unhappiness. Other times, we’re not getting our emotional needs met and find ourselves attracted to someone who will give us the soul soothing we need.

Leaving your marriage to fate without discussing what each other needs is a mistake. One or both will ultimately end up feeling unhappy and hopeless. Fears of going to counseling keep problems on the back burner for too long fearing the other person will retaliate or leave when problems comes up.

No matter what reason, the sooner it is addressed the better.

The injured party is going to want to talk about it in an attempt to understand what, when and where things went array. The one who had the affair usually wants to apologize then stop talking about it because any conversation feels like they have to repeatedly relive the guilt. They want to be forgiven, but forgiveness takes time. Learning how and when to discuss it is of great importance to both parties and is necessary to move on even though it is difficult.

Don’t be afraid to get help. Often you develop a stronger, even more authentic relationship.

The more you detach from your partners poor choices, the less you will take it personally, and the stronger and more forgiving you will become.

Wendy

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