Your Friend Says…Your Shrink Says: Cheating Advice
Relationship advice from two perspectives: your pal and a pro. Today, a confused mom writes in on what to do about her cheating hubby…
-Libby Keatinge and Dr. Morris Halperin
Dear Libby and Dr.Halperin,
I could really use some advice. I am married with two children. I caught my husband cheating on me last year and that almost ended in a divorce. But after listening to my family and after he insisted, we decided to give it another shot. I agreed ( thinking about the kids and their best interest). We are past that stage now but I don’t trust him anymore. And no matter how hard he tries it just feels like I do not love him anymore. I just pretend. I feel guilty about this sometimes because he tries really hard to make up for whatever went wrong. Should I stay with him and keep on pretending? Or should I do what I really wanted to do after his infidelity…….get a divorce.
I stayed because of the kids. Is there a possibility that things will ever get back to being the way they were? And how?
– A Confused Mom
Hey there, Confused Mom, it sounds like you are in quite a predicament. You want to put your kids’ needs first. However, it is in your children’s best interest for you to be happy. You want them to grow up with a model of a strong woman who sticks up for herself, but you also want them to have two parents around. This is a tough choice.
You didn’t mention the ages of your children, but, if they are older, kids are smart and can tell what’s going on. As a child of divorced parents, I can tell you that children know a lot more than you think and are probably very aware that their parents are having problems.
I think ultimately what you need to decide is what situation is going to make you the best parent you can be. Do you want to work on your relationship with your husband and try to repair it – or do you want to leave?
If you want to work on your relationship, then communication is key. You two could meet with a counselor so you can be heard and your issues can be worked on. You could also try a night out without the kids and see how it feels to “date” him again and if you really could be in love with him and trust him again. However, if the two of you are fighting or not getting along in front of your children, it is better to be apart.
If you want to leave, you have many options. Feel free to test the waters on how it feels to be alone. Take a trip with girlfriends or go stay with a friend for a weekend and feel what it is like to really be on your own. Is this something you could be comfortable with? Perhaps if you got a divorce, you would be freed up to pursue a career you want or meet a man who could ultimately make you happy – and be a good stepfather to your children.
There are plenty of separated couples who have a non-traditional way of making family work. Look at Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. Also, I knew a girl growing up whose parents separated but they stayed living in the same house, at opposite ends, until their kids turned 18. Also, Hugh Hefner lives right next door to his ex, with whom he has two children.
I think you and your husband need to have a talk and you need to express your feelings, perhaps with a counselor. The focus, of course, should be to always show your kids you love them and that they are number one in your life.
Either way, I think you need to answer this question before you decide: What situation is going to make you the best mom possible? This needs to be one where you feel strong, comfortable, and happy on a daily basis.