Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Take a stand, don't waver, on husband's infidelity

Q: My husband of 28 years is (reluctantly) moving home to his mom's house. I found out he's been having an affair for 2 1/2 years. Our adult-age kids still live at home and can't wait for him to leave, as they have other festering resentments against him. He doesn't want to leave and has sobbed heartfelt apologies to me, but says it's really none of the kids' business and they shouldn't influence my feelings.

On the flip side, he admitted to me and the kids that he'd still be having the affair if he hadn't been caught since she fills a need in him that I never have.

I'm just numb and exhausted. I feel a loyalty to the relationship, but I'm looking forward to some time alone. I feel guilty that he's hurting and the kids want nothing to do with him. How do I know what I'm to blame for and how to feel?

Anonymous

A: His admission that "he'd still be having the affair" is damning, but it's the biggest duh in the history of love. No one ever gets every need satisfied by a single relationship.

Sympathy might seem wrong here, but, wow, what a powerful example to your kids if you could say to them: "Your father did a rotten thing and I'm angry, and we may not stay together, but I'm not so angry that I've forgotten he's human. Of course there was something missing from our marriage; every marriage is missing something. I will continue with this separation but I will not vilify him, and I hope you all can make peace with the whole person your father is, versus just what he has done lately."

Taking a position and declaring it closed to debate will allow you to focus on adjusting to your new reality and awaiting clarity on how you feel.

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