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You Asked: Should I Give Him Another Chance?

Dear Sugar,

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

To see DearSugar's answer,


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.


Join The Conversation
lindserelli lindserelli 8 years
8 months? That's a lot of lies to cover that up. I also don't like the fact that he came clean only after you found out. My dad cheated on my mom, so I'm obviously biased. Excuse my language, but when the sh*t hit the fan, I was 16, old enough to see everything and know what was going on. It was horrible. 8 years later, my mom, dad, and brothers all agree that it would have been better if she left him earlier. Of course, we would all be different people. Seek counseling, and decide what you are willing to take, then stick to your guns. Good luck.
RaCheer RaCheer 8 years
My boyfriend of 4 1/2 years and I just broke up. He was unfaithful in the beginning of the relationship and we could never overcome it. The trust was completely shot. I couldn't trust him and he didn't trust me because he thought that since he cheated I would cheat too. I understand that your situation is different though. That was just my personal experience!
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
I agree with RockAndRepublic. I think the girl involved is completely irrelevant. Why would anyone want to give her relevance, including the poster? If it wasn't her, it would just be someone else. I think you can make a bigger statement by making her a non-person....or the flip side have compassion for her stupidity. I haven't met a couple yet who was helped by counseling, including myself. It's a business to make money. There isn't a book out there that couldn't be more helpful than most counselors. If anyone would like a list let me know. I will give you the best of the best recommended by said counselors. They were the only thing good I got out of it.
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 8 years
Counseling, counseling -- personal and couples. That's the best way right now to work through your own feelings and the complication to the relationship.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
Don't go patting him on the back now, someone else told you. Don't forget that. Also, don't take the easy way out and blame the other woman, she's aware of your existence, but so was your husband. And im sure he told her that he loved her and that he's just with you for the kids.
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
I agree with Janine22. He only admitted the affair because he was caught, and you think he is telling the truth now? That affair could have gone on for years and he wouldn't have told you. And looseseal's comment makes a lot of sense: that the newness of the relationship wouldn't wear off b/c they never have to deal with real life with each the relationship could go on a very long time and not ever get "old". I also agree with K8, once trust like that is lost, it just can't come back for me no matter what. I would always wonder what he might be doing 'this' time. And I don't think the fact that he is giving you all of his passwords and phone access, etc. means anything. All that means is that he has been caught and now he is looking for the easiest way out of his situation (sucking up to you and getting to keep the little he does have with you). It shows his true character!! He wants the easy way out now just like he did with the affair. He had a problem with your relationship and instead of coming to you to discuss it and try to fix it, he just ran off to another woman. That is his personality!!! He runs away from conflict to find something easier! That WILL NOT CHANGE! If he didn't want to try to fix a minor problem between y'all, then why on earth should you waste all of YOUR energy, and time, and love, to fix a major problem that HE caused!!!!? You shouldn't (IMO)!!! I think it would be better for you to push through the ordeal of leaving him and eventually find someone that can really care about you rather than trying to make yourself believe that he can really care about you. No matter what you do, counseling is a great idea though. Good luck in whatever you decide to do, I am so sorry this happened to you, just keep believing in yourself, you can get through this and move on with your life!!! :)
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I agree -- seek counseling. The both of you should do it.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
This is mainly for the poster ~ I don't think anyone else will want to read this book. I really feel for you and would hate to see you throw years of your life away on a dream. My guess is there is alot more involved here than newness, and more to do with the excitement and danger of having a naughty sexual adventure. I'd say 80 percent of the excitement comes from the danger and thrill of getting caught. What fun would it be if you are no longer in the picture? If you are able to look at it differently you can become in charge of the game because he is the one that changed a sacred marriage into a game. Think of all the days he spent planning these intimate encounters and all the sexual texts, e-mail messages and professions of love to his new intimate partner to ensure his adventure wouldn't end and all the lying involved with no regard to your feelings his role as a husband or father. As long as you remain with him, you will always have that pain in your heart whenever you make love to him and whenever he goes on a business trip. I think you put yourself in a position of power when you just understand who he really is and go from there. It is hard to give up the security you've been used to, but I think you should have him move out for a few months to start, so you can take time to heal and find your strengths again ~ on his dollar. You will be surprised how liberating it is once you get used to not having him around. It will also make him really realize what he is losing. I was involved with a scientist for six years who claimed to love me more than anyone including his first wife who died of cancer. Turns out his vice was porn. He asked if I would work with him ~ sexual counseling at $100 a pop. then content barrier on his computer. The point is, he would give me his passwords (I didn't really want them), but every weekend he would give me his computer and I would catch him in a lie almost every time (search engines girls!). He would give me the password for his e-mail ~ then just set up another e-mail address on yahoo to write other women. I actually felt kind of sorry for him. It was a conscious decision on my part to detach myself from that part of him because we were having fun, guitar jamming, skiing vacations, he was extremely generous but eventually the lying got too ridiculous. It's empowering to look at what you have now with a clear mind and decide from a different perspective; e.g. if this is who he will always be, is it more of a sacrifice to stay in this marriage for me and the kids, or to get out of it.
tatsauce tatsauce 8 years
My heart goes out to you. I don't know the feeling of being cheating on but a lot of women in my family sure do. My dad was top womanizer and had girlfriends, then mom got back and had her boyfriends. Not healthy for the kids to witness so I don't suggest doing that. It's hard but I think you should leave him. Maybe it's all the Lifetime movies I've been watching but I think he needs to think about what he's done, don't take him back! Even if you try repairing things, it'll be different every time you look at him. Whatever you decide, stay strong girl!
lms lms 8 years
I can't say what you should do but I feel sorry for you. You have to know what you are capable of dealing with and no one can tell you but you. However, IMO sometimes giving them another chance translates into letting them do what they want to do. Some people honestly will not stray again, and others will do it again b/c they know that you will put up with it. I know two couples where the husband cheated and the wives found out. One found out b/c of an STD and the other found out b/c the girlfriend told the wife. The affairs were long term...years for one of them. Both of them vowed to end all contact with the other woman and claimed to not love them. Both of them ended up back with them. One marriage ended in divorce and I am not sure if he is with his girlfriend still. In the other relationship the wife is not aware that he is back with his girlfriend. Go with you gut on this one. Good luck.
ajennilynrushhh ajennilynrushhh 8 years
I agree with Janine22..
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I agree completely with Dear, and my heart goes out to the OP.
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 8 years
Sounds like you need a marriage counsellor... IMO, I could never trust a man who cheated on me... I would always have a dwindling doubt in the back of my mind
looseseal looseseal 8 years
I'd trust him more than I'd trust the other woman. I kinda doubt he's doing all this just for the kids. You know what my father said to me when I told him I think he should stop seeing a rode-hard-and-put-away-wet two-faced skank on the side? (Not in those exact words, but anyway...) He said: "This is making me happy, don't you want your dad to be happy?" And this has gone on for about 5 years now after a 20+ year marriage, so this might sound crazy, but your 8 months seem short in my slightly skewed perspective. The newness may wear off a little, but it wouldn't wear off that much for two people who never had to deal with the reality of each other, such as flaws and annoyances you can only know from living together day to day. Anyway, the "excitement" and "wanted-ness" would still be there. I'd still forgive my dad if he made half the effort your husband is making. As of right now, I can't even picture him ever flat-out saying the two-faced skank is "wrong" in any way. Particularly the swearing off all contact part. I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that he's doing all this to manipulate. The other woman is more likely to be trying to manipulate here, since she's probably pissed as hell that her marriage fell apart and now he's putting her on "ignore". When push comes to shove and he has to choose one, he chose you over her. That has to suck for her. Excuse me while I blow a raspberry in her general direction. Of course IF he does this again, it would be too much of a doormat move to put up with it. But as things stand, I don't think it'd be too much to give him just one chance. I hope everything works out for you.
itsme3683 itsme3683 8 years
It sounds like he's sincerely regretful and I definitely think that it definitely means something that he granted your requests. I wouldn't pay attention to the other woman... women can be really evil, especially when they're jealous. I think that counseling would be the best option. If the marriage is still important to you like you said, I think this would be the best way to discuss it openly and try to gain back that trust. It sounds like he's really trying to win you back again, so good luck!!
lolliriots lolliriots 8 years
First, and foremost - I am so sorry about this. It's a painful thing to go through, I know by a somewhat experience (very different, same kind of terms, in aspects). Just know that you were innocent - it's always that you think everything is fine, but it turns out it's not because they want a feeling that they just don't get anymore. Secondly, before ever having sex or anything with him - get him tested, and you as well. Find out everything about their intimacy (I don't mean step by step, but if he ever went raw, without a condom). You have a right to know these things, and could be something that may effect you and your relationship. Third - this woman sounds hellbent on destroying someone else's life because he may have in a moment of idiocy, told her that he loves her - and wants to be with her, therefore, left her husband, and now wants him to do the same. I wouldn't suggest talking to her, she may say things that weren't true - or she may strech the truth out to hurt you. If you can, I'd talk with the mistress' Ex-Husband, he may have more insight. Fourth - Ah, conseuling. Now, if he wants it to work, he'll go, and it may help, but deep down, you need to give yourself a timeline and decide by that deadline if you simply can move on from this, or cannot. Eight months is a long time for his 'mistake', and the effects are ever lasting. It's great he's taking the right steps - but sometimes, all the steps in the World cannot erase a horrible 'mistake' made on the road. Tell him your plan - if you decide on a deadline, so he knows that if you decide you cannot, then this would be something he understood. And a silly suggestion - get a good pre-nup (and the terms being: you guys seperate, he gets with that same mistress, then double payment!) =) Being silly, of course. Good luck to you. I hope you can decide.
javsmav javsmav 8 years
Definitely go to counseling. Personally, I'm not sure I could forgive an 8 month affair that was ended only because he got caught. But obviously that decision is something you have to make--do you think you can trust him again? If yes, then give it a shot. If no, there's probably not much hope.
zabrow zabrow 8 years
what a horrible situation. i don't have any advice other than if you want to make it work, DEFINITELY couples counseling. you poor thing...
Berlin Berlin 8 years
*damn double post:)
Berlin Berlin 8 years
Seek counseling. Sounds like she's a big time bitch and is far more unhappy with her marriage. Hell I'd try to talk with her, wait, you said ex-husband? Yeah, she definitely is feeling unwanted b/c she's divorced now and is trying to secure this new relationship. Cheating is very hard to get over so you have to find out if it's the right move for you or not. He needs to understand the depths of what he did to you NOW, not have it subtly be reminded to him for years to come. You can't do that. You need to get into counseling asap, get it ALL OUT of you now, go through that healing period (if you decide to stay) and get through it. But he needs to realize all of the steps he has to take to regain your trust, and if you don't do this with the aid of counseling, I don't think he'll get the severity of it and he'll end up resenting you b/c you will be forever hurt. You can either work through it or break off, but either is a big decision. And if you DO decide to call it quits, I think you should still try to go to a therapy session so that his betrayal doesn't affect your future relationships. You have to decide how strong your love for him really is, your faith in the bond that's left, however broken it may be...and if you can move past this for a successful marriage. Don't stay in it just for the kids, it's the wrong message. But if you can move past it and really get to trust him again (through help!!) and sincerely be a wonderfully happy couple then by all means. And men are very foolish, so while he's trying to make it back up to you, you need to let down your guard and eventually make him feel wanted and sexy and excited, so that he isn't doing it all for nothing either. It's a terrible situation, and I don't envy you, but you do have all of our support.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 8 years
UGH what a crappy position to be in. It sounds like he truly is sorry, but yes I agree with Dear that you should go to couple counseling and try to work it out if you really want to. Second of all, who does this maneater think that she is trying to tell you that YOUR husband really loves her! The nerve. She should be cheated on one day and know what it feels like. Karma is a beeotch.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 8 years
It's strange to me, especially when married people who have problems of this magnitude seek public advice. I'd seek professional counseling for something like this. Just my thought. Good luck!
glam-sugar glam-sugar 8 years
I'd dump him and move on.
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
I can't give you advice on what to do, because I am not in your position. However, 2 things really concern me here. The fact that he kept this a secret from you for 8 MONTHS! and the fact that he was not even the one that came clean to you, you had to hear it from the other woman's husband. If I were you, I may consider giving him a 2nd chance if he was the one that told you, AND if it was a short term affair. I agree with dearsugar, that is a long time to cheat on someone if he truly just wanted that new feeling. That means that he is most likely lying to you about the reasons he did it. Also, because the other woman thinks that your husband is in love with her, I am suspecting that he told her that he loved her, and that he told her he was only with you because of the kids and he doesn't love you anymore. This is such a typical thing for a man to say when he is married/involved and trying to get another woman to sleep with him. You said that he made it clear that he would never leave you for the other woman. That smells like bullshit to me. There would be no reason for the other woman to continue seeing him unless he made her some sort of promise, however minor. This man sounds full of bs to me. So...he didn't want things to end with you, he just wanted to fuck another woman on the side and never tell you about it? And then he got busted, so now he is trying to cover his ass. I wouldn't believe any of his bs if I were you. Are you sure that he is not a serial cheater who has had other affairs throughout your marriage that you are not aware of? This man sounds like a master manipulater. If I were you, I would sit down with this other woman, without your husband knowing. Ask her straight out exactly what happened, because you obviously are not getting the truth from your husband. Don't do this if you are really angry at this woman, because it will probably turn out bad. But if you genuinely just want to know what he told her, then I would do that if I were you. Good luck to you and seriously consider counselling if you want to stay with this piece of work!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
I agree with karyn09 too...and designerel
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