Sandra A Doron LCSW
I feel betrayed because I am sure that my husband is cheating on me, but I don’t want my friends and family to know what is going on. I discovered at least six e-mails in the past few weeks, written to a woman who works with him. I guess he thought he was “safe” because I rarely use our computer. These e-mails reveal the many sexual encounters he has been having with her, and describes in detail his love and passion for her. I know that I must confront him, but even with all this “hard evidence”, I also know he’s going to deny it.
Thank you for writing and for having the courage to share your anger and ambivalence with others who may be in a situation similar to yours. Your feelings of anger, even rage, are normal. You no longer feel special --the most important person in your spouse’s life. Your self-esteem may be suffering a severe blow. You must be thinking that it is not fair for this to have happened when you rightfully expected loyalty and faithfulness from your spouse. In order to protect yourself from the comments and judgments of others, it is understandable that you would want to keep this information private. However, this leads to isolation and even deeper anger and fear at a time when you desperately need support.
It is imperative that you confront your husband with these e-mails. You do not mention in your letter if you have children, but if you do, you would want to find an appropriate time and private place to confront him. Because you feel so betrayed, you may find the courage to say some things that need to be said. Tell him that if he wants to save his marriage:
1) He must tell you the truth 2) You will leave him if he doesn’t tell you the truth. The foundation of a good relationship and a good marriage is trust. If you don’t trust your partner, you have no marriage. 3) If he does acknowledge the affair, you may want to tell him that couples counseling is necessary for your marriage to continue. Suggest that he make the phone call for the initial appointment. This action will signal whether or not he is invested in the marriage. I have counseled many couples who are in the situation you describe and, with lots of hard work, the results of therapy can be very positive. Please feel free to contact me directly for more information or a referral.
By making it crystal clear to him that he will lose you unless he is honest, you are taking back a large measure of control you feel you have lost. If you do not tell him what your expectations are, you will continue to feel helpless and fearful. Keep in mind that he has violated your trust, and it is his dignity and self-respect that has been compromised, not yours.
Both you and he may feel a sense of relief that the truth is out. If he acknowledges his infidelity, in time you will be able to assess whether or not your spouse genuinely regrets what he has done, and whether he is willing to take the steps necessary to win back your trust. It is important to remember that rebuilding trust takes a long time. If you are capable of forgiving, and if his actions assure you that he is doing everything he can to restore your trust, you may find that the “new” relationship that you both work to develop is more solid and satisfying than your present one.
Sandra A Doron is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker A & A Couples Counseling Acknowledge and Appreciate (Keys to a Successful Relationship)
This site was last updated 01/22/06