I just found out on Monday that my husband has been having an affair for eight months. We have been married for 13 years and although we have the usual ups and downs of marriage, I never suspected a problem with us — we are a sincerely normal, happy couple. I actually found out from his girlfriend's ex-husband — yes, she was married too. My husband fessed up when confronted, said he was sorry, and claimed he doesn't know why he did it except that it made him feel excited and "wanted" again like, when a relationship first starts.
I asked him to honestly tell me what he wanted and he said he wants me and his children. He swears he loves me and thought he was in love with her, but doesn't think he really was. He said he made it clear from the beginning that he would never leave me for her. I am at a total loss. He has ceased all contact with her, changed his cell phone number and taken his cell and computers off password protected; all at my request. This woman is insisting that he is only with me because of our kids and that he doesn't love me anymore — she claimed he loves her. He tells me she is wrong and that he never stopped loving me. I am so confused and worst of all, I love him and want to work things out. I want my marriage to survive this. Do you have any advice? — Not Sure Suzanna
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Dear Not Sure Suzanna,
Let me first say that my heart truly goes out to you. Though I don't doubt that you love your husband, and while I understand people make mistakes, I'm uncomfortable with his eight month mistake. If he simply wanted the "new" feeling again, why would he carry on such a long affair?
Cheating is a very selfish act and even though some marriages can survive infidelity, it takes a lot of commitment, trust, and brutal honesty. If you decide to take on that challenge, I suggest you seek a couples counselor as well as a personal therapist. Being cheated on comes with an array of feelings — insecurity, guilt, anger, sadness, etc. — but it's important to know that it's not your fault. Your husband was the one who chose to risk his marriage and family for the thrill of another woman, and he needs to feel the consequences.
I wish I could give you a more definite answer here, but unfortunately you're the only person that can decide if he deserves a second chance. I'm sure your husband is sorry for what he's done and the pain he's caused, but if your gut is telling you not to forgive him, I'd advise you to listen to it. Though I'm not a firm believer in the notion of once a cheater, always a cheater, I do feel the saying has some validity. Trust your heart and your head and everything will fall into place if you keep the lines of communication wide open. Good luck.