My Husband's Free Adultery Pass

By Caroline

A couple of years ago, I announced to Mike, “If you ever cheat on me (and then confess and feel really bad about it), I’d forgive you. I wouldn’t divorce you.”

This marked an important turning point in my conception of marriage. Before I was married, and even into the first couple of years of our marriage, I was convinced that if my husband was ever unfaithful, I would immediately kick him to the curb. The marriage would be over. Period. And how could anyone think differently?

But with eight years of marriage and one baby behind me, my views on this topic have become more nuanced. I can still see how a marriage with an unfaithful spouse could descend into a pit of broken dreams, crushed expectations, and destroyed trust. I can see how love could die from such a huge mistake, and I wouldn’t judge any person who decided to end their marriage after such a betrayal.

But as for me and my marriage, I now think that I’d be unlikely to leave a loving and contrite Mike, a Mike who was willing to change and try to work things out. Perhaps this is due in part to my extreme pragmatism. I like being married. What would my chances be of finding a man as nice as Mike, particularly with baby in tow? And what about money? I have a couple of graduate degrees, but as a teacher, my earning potential is less than half of Mike’s. I could survive, but it would be difficult on my own with the baby. These are my sobering realities, and I suspect these are the sobering realities that a lot of women face when they consider whether or not to divorce a cheating husband.

Beyond all the pragmatic considerations, however, there have also been my dawning appreciation of Christian forgiveness and my realizations of my own fallibility. Let’s face it. I’m a screw up. We’re all screw ups to some extent. We all do stupid things. I want to think that my heart could be big enough to forgive the (nearly) unforgivable.

Don’t get me wrong. I would not stay in a perpetually bad marriage. I could accept and forgive an episode of regretted cheating more easily than I could accept continual unkindness, disrespect, or emotional distance.

My husband and I refer to my bald announcement as his get-out-of-jail-free pass. I suspect we are able to joke about it because Mike is about as likely to commit adultery as I am to fly to the moon. But I think it’s an intriguing topic. Is adultery a deal breaker for you? How bad does a marriage have to be before you would leave it? And how much should one take into account the pragmatic considerations when deciding whether or not to leave a marriage?

 

Caroline

Caroline is a PhD student in Women's Studies in Religion and mother of three.

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47 Responses

  1. SilverRain says:

    Not a deal breaker. For me, however, it’s not saying much. There are far worse things than adultery.

  2. Deborah says:

    My husband and I were just talking about this. The nutshell: it’s not sex, it’s the deception. E.g.: people make stupid stupid mistakes. We’d be reluctant to throw away our vows because of one, however painful. But perpetuating a lie (via a long-term affair) would indicate a breakdown of the very foundation of our relationship: trust and honesty. And at that point, we’d have more to worry about than just the affair. Of course it’s easy to have these discussions with my husband in the hypothetical, but I am glad that we have them.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Try going through it and see how you feel then. All your pragmatism might go out the window.

  4. Deborah says:

    Anon: Yup — probably right. I’ve watched too friends and family members go through this. It’s always painful and awful and hurtful on its way to whatever resolution. And I’ve had a bad track record at predicting what would happen to their relationships. I don’t know that I’d be much better at predicting my own reaction . . . Hope? yes. Know? No.

  5. FoxyJ says:

    It really would depend on the situation for me. Last year my husband and I were actually separated for a few months. It was his idea, not really mine. He had decided that he was done with being married, and there were other reasons I’d rather not get into. Anyways, it was really hard and it made us realize that (at least for us), the difficulties of being married were not as bad as the difficulties of being divorced. Again this really depends on the couple and the situation. We have very small children and we’re both still students, so the pragmatic aspects definitely did affect our decision. I prayed a lot about it and felt like it was good to forgive and try again. My bishop hasn’t really been supportive. He thinks I should get divorced and find a “righteous priesthood holder” to replace my husband. Like that’s easy to do when you’re 30 and have two small children. Anyways, I think every individual situation is different, but at least for me I realized that getting divorced is really not easy at all.

  6. cchrissyy says:

    (copied from my comment on your other blog, I didn’t know there would be a bigger discussion here)

    I undertsand what you’re saying but I can’t imagine blogging a reply shorter than a novel. let’s see…

    If we set aside the assumptions that it can be OK to divorce and that of course you should pray about it and not be hasty, then,
    I do agree the decision to leave is a balance between what is so bad about staying and if your condition apart would actually be an improvement in the short or long term. That includes money, it includes raising a kid alone, it includes the child’s perspective. It includes show happy you could be together if you really worked at it.

    I totally see how offenses of all kinds get more forgivable given the pain and risk of separating. It sounds like an immature mistake to be so outraged about the offense that you eject yourself into a worse situation just to take a stand. Practicalities matter, and if you wouldn’t have more happiness or security outside the marriage, it sounds dumb to put yourself there.
    And I totally see why a person with more options as a single would be less scared of that move. Though the social pressure and stress of the transition are awful from what I’ve heard. The author of “eat, pray, love” describes her necessary divorce like being hit by a bus, every single day for a year.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am totally with you on this. In the past I also felt that any adultery (along with a few other serious sins) and I would divorce my husband. After 16 years of marriage, I would only divorce my husband if I absolutely had to and would do everything in my power to save my marriage.

    For me, I think a more mature understanding of the complexities of life, the horrible realities of what divorce does to families, and more appreciation for the power of the atonement and the need for forgiveness are the major factors in this change of viewpoint. In addition, I now truly love my husband more than I did early in our marriage. When I was single, I was primarily focused on what I wanted/deserved/required in a husband. Now I see that that is not a Christlike focus. Best wishes to FoxyJ; I hope your marriage continues to survive and eventually thrives regardless of whether your husband ever qualifies as a “righteous priesthood holder”.

  8. Caroline says:

    Deborah, I too draw a distinction between long term affair, and stupid one night stand. I think I would suffer far more from the former than the latter.

    Anon, yes it’s hard to project with any kind of accuracy how you might react.

    Foxyj, thanks for your insight. I totally see where you are coming from in deciding to try to work things out. Getting divorced with two small children sounds SO difficult.

    cchrissyy,
    “And I totally see why a person with more options as a single would be less scared of that move.” Absolutely. When I was 25 and childless and confident in my abilities to attract a mate, I could afford to start over if I was with a spouse prone to making huge mistakes. But things look a little different at 30 with a baby.

    anony,
    Loved your comment. You said it so well.

  9. Jessawhy says:

    Caroline,
    This is good post for a conversation. The part that stood out for me was at the end.
    “I could accept and forgive an episode of regretted cheating more easily than I could accept continual unkindness, disrespect, or emotional distance.”
    For my parents, these things were part of the whole marriage problem.
    My mom was really vulnerable with 2 small daughters, and no place to go (she couldn’t go live with her parents b/c her father had abused her as a child, so she didn’t want it to happen to me and my sister).
    She felt really helpless. I think a lot of women are in situations like that.
    It’s one thing to give your husband a free pass, and forgive really him.
    It’s another thing entirely to be stuck, trapped, in a bad marriage, with no way out. Then, forgiving is even harder, if it happens at all.
    Thanks for this thread. This is a discussion I’m going to have with DH. I’ve always thought that considering the possibility of big problems in marriage is a good way to prevent them. (but, i could be totally wrong)

  10. Maria Hart says:

    I don’t see how many of you can consider a “one-night-stand” a one evening event. Men don’t just walk into the office one day, see a foxy lady, turn on the charm, and walk away from a sexual encounter moments later. A one time event is still a series of flirtations, innuendos, provocations, deceptions and then… sex. There is still a pattern of lies with resulting mistrust and dishonesty. I don’t think it is healthy to dillude ourselves into believing a “one-night-stand” is actually possible. That said, I do agree that each situation is between the couple involved and is deeply personal. Their decision, to divorce or to work it out, is their’s, either alone or with qualified counsel. The “what if” game is interesting, but as so many have already mentioned, impossible to truly predict. You really don’t know how you will react “if” this situation ever occurs in your life. The only certainty is the absolute reality of the atonement. It has the transcendant power to make ALL of our decisions turn for the good. It can heal a broken marriage and it can redeem a soul who feels lost because of a divorce. The atonement is as personal as each of our lives, and the path each one takes.

  11. Katie says:

    I had a friend that almost got divorced over this and a few other things. Thankfully, after a separation and much therapy, they worked it out and now are doing quite well. During that time, I remember praying about it and feeling like I should just support her through the ups and downs, no judgment. I wanted to tell her what I really thought of her husband. I saved that opinion for conversations with my own husband. In the end, the realationship was saved, a temple marriage was kept intact and a family was saved. I can remain her friend and also spend time with him and not feel guilty. So yes, marriages can be saved…but it takes A LOT of work and committmment. If something happened in my own, I would have to have a lot of conditions associated with getting back together.

  12. Zenaida says:

    I also used to think that adultery was a deal breaker, and I’m not sure if I still do or not, but a lot of things that I used to think are in flux right now or have been replaced by more nuanced versions.

    I’ve always been amazed and astonished that marriages like the Clintons’ last, and I wonder what the inside of that marriage looks like when it becomes little more than a political tool (I realize I’m assuming a lot here).

    I have a friend who is finding her limits of tolerance in her marriage, and nothing like adultery has occurred, but it makes me wonder what my own limits might be, and I’ve found myself rooting for her husband and hoping they can work it out, despite the awful things happening in their marriage.

  13. Nick Literski says:

    I could accept and forgive an episode of regretted cheating more easily than I could accept continual unkindness, disrespect, or emotional distance.

    Amen to that!! My own marriage, for a variety of reasons (some of which were entirely due to me!) devolved into the latter, which made it simply unbearable–and don’t think the kids didn’t notice.

    I’m reminded of a situation on my mission, where we taught a very eager gentleman. He clearly was becoming convinced that Mormonism was correct, and loved reading the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, he brought our discussions to an abrupt halt. Why? Because once, ten or twelve years ago, he had cheated on his wife. He was convinced from his reading in The Book of Mormon that he would need to confess this to her, if he was to move forward, and he was afraid that she would immediately leave him. He loved her dearly, and didn’t want to risk losing her. What a shame that this man carried his secret for over a decade, and still didn’t feel he could be forgiven!

    I don’t see how many of you can consider a “one-night-stand” a one evening event. Men don’t just walk into the office one day, see a foxy lady, turn on the charm, and walk away from a sexual encounter moments later.

    I don’t want to demean what you’re feeling here, but I would suggest that this has much to do with what a person associates with sex. Much of our society holds a very strong association between sex and love (or perhaps we could say “emotional intimacy”). I think this idea is strongly reinforced within a subculture that expects absolute celibacy prior to marriage, and absolute fidelity within marriage. In that kind of worldview, your comment absolutely makes sense.

    There are other perspectives, however. To some, sexual relations really are viewed as “recreational,” without the need of emotion or commitment. Believe it or not, men really do encounter an attractive person, “turn on the charm,” and “walk away from a sexual encounter moments later” (well, maybe more like an hour or so). It’s simply not that hard to do. Granted, an LDS marriage involving someone with this viewpoint is going to have serious problems, but when huge stresses appear in one’s life, this sort of thing can happen even with an ordinarily-devoted spouse.

  14. mraynes says:

    I have no idea on this one. I, like a lot of others here, used to think that adultery was a deal breaker. Now I’m not so sure.

    I have to admit, this is something I worry about. Not because I don’t trust my husband, but because my husband will have a lot of power in his chosen career and I know he will be attractive to other women. Also, sex is a perfectly acceptable way to get ahead in this field.

    I am emotionally dependent on my husband. We were talking about this last night and I realized that no matter what DH did, it could never just be over between us. My heart aches for women who are in this horrible situation.

    I think all any of us can do is be honest and respectful of our spouse and trust that they will be honest and respectful of us.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It was a deal breaker for me. Until it happened. He didn’t sleep with someone, but he crossed a line that I had always defined as the end.

    I am still with him. A lot of forgiveness, a lot of talking, and six months of quality therapy got us through.

    However, what initially made me stay and try to work it out was his honesty and his strong history of treating me with respect. Without those, it really may have broken our family.

  16. Dora says:

    I guess I’m in the minority when I chime in on the infidelity-as-deal-breaker side of the argument. Then again, I’m a single, childless, professional woman, so that puts me in the minority in the church anyway. It also makes me less tolerant of situations that put me at a marked disadvantage.

    Pragmatically, I feel that there are few marital issues that can’t be worked out with a little give and take. Sure, there are some things that can be seemingly insurmountable, but I’d hope to ferret out those issues long before becoming a wedded couple. Realistically, everyone has issues. The thing is to find someone whose issues you can accept, and vice versa.

    It’s different for each person, I suppose. However, for me, infielity is tantamount to emotional abuse. And, having made that perfectly clear to my as-yet non-appearing spouse, would be practically the most hurtful thing that this hypothetical He could do. Which would make me wonder why I am hypothetically with someone who would so deliberately injure the one that they have professed to love so dearly as to bind their life to. Personally, I look at divorce-after-infidelity as a consequence, rather than a punishment. Kind of like being ejected from the garden …

  17. SLP says:

    Caroline,
    Great post. My husband I discussed it last night.

    While I hear your rationale, I think it speaks more to the “economics of women”. I happen to be part of the minorty of women who “bring home the bacon” in my marriage, so if he cheated, I would actually have more “power” in negotiating my reaction. Women with less “power” in a relationship have fewer options, which can force them to “forgive” when they might not be ready to…

    That said, my husband is an outstanding father and I would hate to deny my son that opportunity (since I have a “no tolerance” policy around cheating – once or long term)…

    I agree…it’s complicated…

  18. Anonymous says:

    My husband was told by his brother before we married that he had to be willing to forgive me if I ever committed adultery. It’s so nice to have a husband that I can talk to openly and honestly about these issues, whether hypothetical or real. Every marriage is different, and every situation/cause/instance of adultery is different too (though obviously wrong, regardless). I think it’s much too complicated to make it an automatic deal breaker or not, either way. I’m just glad that I do have a choice. I wouldn’t feel bad walking away from the marriage if I felt it was the best thing to do, and I wouldn’t feel bad staying and working it out if I felt that was best–either way it’s my choice.

  19. tiredmormon says:

    So he has a free pass, but do you?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

  20. AmyB says:

    Caroline, I can’t help but ask if you have a “free adultery pass” as well. I may be projecting, but there seems to be a slight undertone in the conversation of the idea that the man is usually the one to cheat. Of course, that could be because it’s primarily women who can’t imagine themselves ever doing it making the comments, so in the hypothetical it’s the husband.

    Dora, I can see from your perspective how it could be a dealbreaker. You will have put a lot more into the pre-screening process than I did! For myself, I got married way too young without having put much thought ahead of time into things like that. Now, after nearly 7 years of marriage, I kind of agree with silverrain that there are far worse things than adultery. That isn’t to say I wouldn’t be absolutely crushed if my husband cheated, just that it wouldn’t be an automatic divorce.

  21. AmyB says:

    oh, looks like tiredmormon and I are on the same wavelength. 🙂

  22. mobile-sloth says:

    What the first Anonymous said! And, FoxyJ, can i borrow your Bishop? 2 Bishops in a row have told me to stay with my cheating “dh”. The only reason I am still with him is cold hard economic – raising kids on your own is not easy!

  23. Anonymous says:

    When we got married, I told my husband if he ever cheated on me I would destroy every electronic item he owns. Everything from the TurboGrafix16 to the X-Box 360 and his laptop I would run over with a car. I think I’d still hold true to that promise I honestly don’t know what about keeping the marriage together.

    I’m pretty sure I would consider staying with him if he confessed and explained to me what he was thinking/feeling at the time, opened up to me, reconnected, etc. This is one thing I really do not see my husband ever doing just because of how he is, but I have stayed with him through so much other crap in our marriage (depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, violent anger, and so forth) that something like this might be easier to work through in the end. But again it would depend on how and why and details and his reaction.

    Now my husband’s sister this past year found out her husband had cheated on her and my heart aches for her. They are very young like we are, and with a new baby, I do not know how she is coping with life. We are all supporting her in her decision to support her husband though.

  24. Caroline says:

    amyb, tired,
    Mike’s not the type to make sweeping pronouncements about a hypothetical (unlike me). He’s too cautious for that. But that said, I am confident he would try to salvage the marriage.

    Dora, I totally understand where you are coming from. I’d say the same if I were you. But it becomes so much harder when the cheater is this dear person you’ve had so many good times with.

  25. Caroline says:

    Everyone, thanks for all the comments. I’ve read them all with great interest.

    Nick, what a sad story from your mission! And I see what you’re saying about how an affair simply could be just a quick physical thing. That seems like a realistic possibility, as does the relationship with a longer buildup that Maria mentions. But even if there was a long buildup with deception over a period of months, I still think I would do my damnedest to save the marriage.

    Zenaida, I too wonder how that Clinton marriage works! To me, it’s one thing if the guy feels bad and wants to change. It’s another thing if the guy won’t agree to.

    mraynes, I always said that I was glad I didn’t marry a fabulously good looking guy (no offense Mike!), because I would hate to worry about women throwing themselves at him all the time. I feel for you if your husband is in a position where women might do that to him!

    anony, thanks for your story. I hope things work out for you!

    slp, yes, the economics of women angle is something I wanted to touch on. I’m educated and still working (part time) but even I can imagine the panic I’d feel at facing a life alone providing for me and my kid. Mobile Sloth mentions that cold hard economic reality influencing her decision to stay. (Good luck, Mobile. I hope that while you stay you can slowly work towards a career that would allow you to leave if you choose that.)

  26. Ana says:

    Right now, honestly, I believe that he would never do it. I can’t imagine such a thing.

    Someone out there is thinking, “yeah, that’s what I thought, too, until I found out … “

    But I really just don’t worry about it. That’s how good he is.

    What that probably really shows is that I adore the guy so much he has a free pass.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Recently, my wife informed me that she *might* be able to forgive me if I were ever to commit adultery. I think that it is a reflection of where our love has taken us in our marriage, as back in the early days she told me that it would be over if I so much as looked at porn.

    Of course, I think that she also takes comfort in the fact that I was 100% virtuous in my single dating years back when I was an incredibly attractive young man with a ripped physique and a fat wallet, and now I’m a frumpy and somewhat lumpy old married guy who drives around in a 1992 Astro Van.

  28. Stan Way says:

    Caroline, that was a beautiful post. Thank you. – Your example is something to learn from.

  29. Salt H2O says:

    As a newlywed I’m very much in that ‘If he cheated on me I’d blow up his car and take him for all he’s worth’ phase. I can’t imagine it ever happening- trust is far too important to me, and that is trust I don’t think I could ever get back.

    I could forgive him because that’s what the Savior would do, but it ends there. It doesn’t mean you have to stay with the person.

    My friend’s mom found out her husband was cheating on her because she contracted and STD. Her mom stayed with him because of the kids, but the love, the spark and the fun of marriage was gone. Every time she gets an outbreak it’s a reminder of the cheating bas*&rd. Doesn’t sound like the kind of life I’d like to live.

  30. Anonymous says:

    All I can say it is amazing what you will live with after years of having a life with someone. It may be you really love them even when they hurt you so bad. It could be it is financial. It could be that it is the only way you feel in control of the situation. It is not like you can just divorce the person and put them and it behind you. Especially if you have children. He is still their father. You can deal with it together or deal with it apart, that is what it comes down to for me.

    Me and mine have had some good years and we have had some bad years. where I am not sure how we made it through. There are many hurtful things that can happen in a marrage.

    that never go to bed mad stuff is crap!! We are imperfect people. I figure we are learning to love each other in our imperfections. I have to be patient with his learning and he with mine.

    As long as we are both working on it, it seems to work. The deal breaker for me is if there is no care on his part when he is wrong and if there is abuse of any kind that goes on unchanged.

  31. turleybenson says:

    I always said, without really thinking about it, that cheating was a dealbreaker for me. Last year, I reiterated this to my husband, then for the first time, turned the question to him. What would he do if I cheated? He thought for a second, then sort of melted and said, “I just love you so much, I think I would forgive you!”

    Maybe I should rethink my policy. Marriage is a lot more complex than my old blanket statements.

  32. c jane says:

    I have said the same to my man. Sometimes it is all about how much you can love someone through something. I think it is a healthy attitude to have. Great post.

  33. JCV says:

    I always thought it would be a deal breaker for me until it became my story. I chose to stay with my spouse. It ended up be a good choice but one that did not come without extreme pain, heartache, and a deep sense of loss. I still struggle with those feelings to this day but each day/month/year that passes the pain is replaced with a sense of happiness that my family remains intact. I am grateful for my ability to continue to choose every day to stay.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Wow! I was… I suppose quite shocked by the “Free adultery pass” statement and your comment that your husband would never cheat on you. Hmmm Hmmm… I am quite sure that there are hundreds of people that would tell you they never “planned” on cheating. We all make stupid mistakes and forgive our mates and of course they forgive us, but truely I don’t believe you have any right to say how you are going to feel “before” it happens, what ever the “mistake” might be.

  35. Caroline says:

    Anonymous,
    I don’t think you read what I wrote very carefully. I did not say he would “never” cheat. I said it was highly unlikely. Also, I didn’t talk in absolute terms about what I would feel. I said ‘I now think I’d be unlikely to leave’ and ‘I want to think my heart could be big enough to forgive.’ These are not definitive statements, and I accept the fact that reality could indeed be very different than my ruminations on this topic.

    jvc, I’m so glad things worked out for you.

    anonymous 4-1.
    “As long as we are both working on it, it seems to work.” That’s key for me. When one partner gives up trying to make it work, it’s probably going to be over.

    salt h20, what a horrible story about your friend’s mom. What a nightmare.

    anonymous 3-29, I love that image of you lumpy and frumpy in an astro van!

  36. Mudphud says:

    My criteria are much more simple. If my wife has an affair, catches herpes, and then infects me–it’s over.

    If she stays disease-free, then I can forgive with ease. I mostly worry about the incurable diseases. And I’d probably forgive even if she infected me with something dreadful.

    But seriously, my wife would never cheat. I’m 100% certain of that.

    I have a little bit of a male courtship pattern, but I don’t even like touching doorknobs for fear of germs, so I’m pretty much a non-threat.

    My wife always says that if I ever did anything bad, she wouldn’t want to know about it. But if she did find out, I get ONE mulligan. If it happens twice, all bets are off. Like I said, the doorknob issue pretty much excludes really bad behavior on my part.

  37. Shelly says:

    I think you are wise. As a young wife I thought I’d freak out if he cheated. He did, more than once. I did freak out. But oddly, now, I forgive him and now would accept him saying, “Ok honey I love you, go to bed and don’t wait up for me.” Even if I knew he was going to go be with some woman. Weird I guess. I’d never go find another man. I’m happy. He takes good care of me. I guess I fully submit to his lead. I guess I have never been happier, actually. He’s a really good guy. Maybe it is not so bad to face a husband’s need to have variety. The lies are what hurt. Not really the fact that he wants to pursue a few women besides me. So if you accept it, you protect yourself I think from betrayal, actually. We have been married 21 years now. I am content.

  38. Kiri Close says:

    How about when the ‘other woman/man’ is:

    A)legally a child (even very young)

    B)the same sex as your spouse

    C)Both A & C

    D)is less attractive than you

    E)one or more of your own children

    F)another relative

    G)your/their best friend

  39. Seven says:

    I haven’t told my husband he has a free pass but I totally agree with your post. Adultery would do great harm in our marriage but I have to forgive him. If I don’t, then I haven’t honored Christ’s atoning sacrifice for my own sins.

    This very topic came up the other day after watching two marriages end in divorce from a cheating spouse. (one was a wife, the other was a husband) It made me realize that my love for him goes beyond what I used to think would be a deal breaker.
    We are a family and I love him like blood. Knowing that he loves and understands me with all my faults is part of why I feel this way. We truly are one.
    Our marriage and children are more important than anything to me. The longer we are married, the stronger I feel this bond.

    I might have to get revenge by cheating on him though. hmmm…..jk

  40. Stacey says:

    I am in the very position that you are all referring to. Two weeks ago, my husband of 3 years, confessed he had a drunken one-night stand. We have been together for 9 years (started dating at the end of high school) and recently have had a baby together only 4 months ago.
    In the three years we have been married we have lost a baby, I had a serious cancer scare in which I was having to have blood work done weekly for over 6 months, my husband’s business went under and he was unemployed for about 7 months, I lost my job and had to take a lower paying one, we are in the process of foreclosure on our house and are having to file bankruptcy. We got pregnant last year and new it was going to be a very high risk pregnancy–we had to do ultrasounds every week for 7 months of the pregnancy. Meanwhile, both my parents lost their jobs and their home as well.
    About a month and a half ago, my husband had a break down, and told me he was very depressed about everything–his job, our financial situation, our marriage (we had been fighting a lot since the birth of our daughter–mostly because of lack of sleep & all the stresses that don’t just go away because you have a baby) and that he was feeling very hopeless about life. I felt very much the same way and both of us have been a very long depression with everything that we have gone through and not dealing with any of it. We both figured we would let time heal our wounds.
    Now we have the one-night drunk affair (with a girl he didn’t know and he remembers very little of the event). It happened on a Saturday and Monday he stayed home from work (I thought because he was sick) and actually called his mom and asked her to come and confessed to her & then went to a pastor. He cried all day and decided he had to tell me because he thought I deserved to know and have the ability to decide what I wanted to do. He, we, cried for days. I was shocked, hurt and devastated. I still am. After a few days of thinking about it and talking with my parents, I have decided to try to work things out with my husband. To this day, I still cannot believe it happened. It is the complete opposite of everything I know and love about my husband. He has been my partner and best friend since we met over 10 years ago. He stuck by me through every mistake I’ve made (and some have been very big ones) and has always loved me unconditionally and knew that with patience and love I would get through the things I need to work on.
    Our lives have been a complete rollar coaster the last three years and most people don’t go through that in a lifetime of marriage. I love my husband and I think we can get through it but it will take a lot of work, time, patience and love. We do however know that we cannot do it on our own and he is 100% committed to doing whatever he can to make things better. I really do believe him that he loves me and wants our relationship to improve–as well as us both individually. I think people really can make a stupid mistake, especially when they are in a depressed state to begin with and then you add alcohol.
    At the end of the day, I love my husband and I can’t imagine my life without him. But we as a couple need to improve our relationship, deal with the sadness we have endured, and get healthy and happy as two individual people before our marriage can be what it was the day we married.

  41. Caroline says:

    Wow, Stacey. Thanks for sharing your poignant story. You’ve sure had a rough time these last couple of years. It’s sounds, though, as if you and your husband are on a track to heal and make the marriage work. Best of luck to you.

  42. Debbie says:

    After reading all the posts on this topic I feel deeply saddened for those that have had to experience this. After 25years of marriage, 3 grown kids, I said I was done! Finished with the lies, late nights and early mornings of “work”. I had complete trust in this man. He made promises, reassured myself and his kids that he was “worthy” and he became addicted to “one night stands”. Once he figured that I would discover this, he made plans and arrangements with one of his one night stands and I “put him on the curb with the garbage! I held back so much of my own self worth and spirituality to try and bring him up that I couldn’t figure out who I was. Now that’s a different story. I manage my own life, pay my own bills and even have more cash that I ever did before. I felt like the “yolk” was completely off my back. It is different with each of us, what we will take and not, until it happens. I pray that those that have not experienced will never do. Love another and appreciate all the things that you do for each other..even the little things and smile =)

  43. elizabeth says:

    I agree with the last portion of your posting. I am living within an emotionally void relationship. He cheated early in the relationship, which I forgave because I was so deeply in love. Ten years later, I am faced with a man who is not emotionally available, and I certainly know (firsthand) this is much more painful than any philandering he did years ago. I am not certain of where to go from hear. I do not have stable employment, we have no childrn (of course, his decision), and the economy truly frightens my ability to withstand a divorce.

  44. Caroline says:

    debbie, elizabeth, thanks so much for sharing your stories. So sad that you’ve had to deal with both cheating and emotional distance.

    Debbie, I’m glad that your decision to leave has worked out for the best. Elizabeth, best of luck with your tough decision. I don’t know much about your situation, but perhaps you might use the next couple of years to work towards your ideal career? And then when you see a bright professional future in front of you, leaving might seem like more of an option. Just my ignorant 2 cents, for whatever it’s worth.

  45. Julie says:

    Amazing! The strength of LDS woman. I myself can’t say I will stay even on more day. My husband has had 3 affairs and is addicted to porn. He has abandoned me and my 5 kids many times to live his 2 sided disgusting life. Bear with me. I am a bit hurt and sick of him right at the moment. I want out. My kids are young and I will make oh maybe 7 dollars an hour in the economy we live in but to me it’s better then the disrespect this man has towards woman.

    I would rather suffer without him then deal with his lies one more day.

    LDS only I don’t see any other way

  46. pow123 says:

    Having been through an episode of adultery, the answer for me is that yes, there is life after it. My wife had an affair with a colleague of hers about which I found out. Went through some really bad times but at the end of the day the (very pragmatic) question for me was: Can I live without my children (who for better or worse would have ended up with her)? And what it would mean for them (my children) to be growing up without their parent living together. I also realized that for this to actually work there would have to be a “real” reconciliation and not a fake “in front of the kids” one.

    However more than 3.5 years later, there is a real change in our relationship. We are not really close anymore. Or to be correct I am not that close to my wife emotionally anymore. She never expressed the need to be close (physically or emotionally) to me anyway. And certainly there is a constant background trust deficit (I still don’t know if my second child is really mine).

    But pragmatism still prevails. I am still the best “father” possible (her words) and still the best “provider” possible (again her words). But I guess both our expectations of finding a “great love” with the person you are married to have been ameliorated. We are now content with “person who you can live with” and “good parent” as the defining characteristics of our relationship.

    Its not great but its not bad either. You take what you can get and try and do the best thing for your kids.

  47. Wetly says:

    I have a husband who cheats on me, drinks and as his wife he could hardly spend time or listen to me, i and my husband are both from United state. I have tried all means to stop him from this ugly attitude but he never changed, he treats me like a slave, he stop loving me the way he used to and he now always come home late at night. I tried all means to make him love me back and change for good and i have also talked to his families concerning his attitude. I just got to know of Dr.Mark recently that he helps a lot of persons restore broken marriage, i asked Dr Mack if there is anyway to make him love me again and make him a good responsible husband. He promised to help me out, in just 4 days after the work was done, My Husband started loving me again and now he is fully back to his right senses, if you are looking for a genuine spell caster to help you with your marriage problems, to get your ex back or you are looking for solutions to your problems , i will advice you email Dr Mack at dr.mac@yahoo. com…
    State: oh
    Country: United States

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