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Had an affair..do I stay married and "pretend" to love my husband for our children's sake?

Tagged as: Cheating, Marriage problems<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (14 April 2009) 10 Answers - (Newest, 13 May 2009)
A female United States age 36-40, *ucysue writes:

I have been married for 10 years. I am 32. I had an affair with a 49 year old married man. He told me first that he loved me. It lasted 6 months until we got caught (by text). It has been 2 months since and I haven't heard a word from him. I am so hurt. I truly loved this man and am just looking for some advice. Please, I know what I did was wrong, so try not to judge me too hard. My husband wants to work this out, but I do not love him. However, my chidren are my top priority. Do I stay married for them and pretend to "love" my husband? I am so afraid that I wil never be able to get over the "other" man.

View related questions: affair, married man, text

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A female reader, jewelee United States +, writes (13 May 2009):

Wow Lucy,

I can honestly tell you my situation sounds exactly like yours. It's been 2 years later...and I still love this other man. I am currently with my husband and I know I will never feel the same for him. People are so judgemental, as if you woke up one day and intended to stop loving your husband on purpose. Sometimes, although people just can't believe this because their marriages are perfect...things really do just happen.

My husband loves me so much I really don't have it in me to hurt him again. I also realized as someone did mention, the other man decided not to be with me?? I know that I was in so much pain that I would have left at any moment to be with him. But, I guess he didn't feel the same.

I do feel that I will never be happy so I decided to stay with my husband. I think the choice should be yours, and in time you will make the right decision.

People think they have all the answers, but they don't. No one feels the way you do, or understands the exact circumstances you are going through.

I just take it one day at a time. I also learned after my experience that I will NEVER judge anyone again. It has made me a much more compassionate and understanding person.

Good Luck to you!

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A female reader, jewelee United States +, writes (13 May 2009):

Wow Lucy,

I can honestly tell you my situation sounds exactly like yours. It's been 2 years later...and I still love this other man. I am currently with my husband and I know I will never feel the same for him. People are so judgemental, as if you woke up one day and intended to stop loving your husband on purpose. Sometimes, although people just can't believe this because their marriages are perfect...things really do just happen.

My husband loves me so much I really don't have it in me to hurt him again. I also realized as someone did mention, the other man decided not to be with me?? I know that I was in so much pain that I would have left at any moment to be with him. But, I guess he didn't feel the same.

I do feel that I will never be happy so I decided to stay with my husband. I think the choice should be yours, and in time you will make the right decision.

People think they have all the answers, but they don't. No one feels the way you do, or understands the exact circumstances you are going through.

I just take it one day at a time. I also learned after my experience that I will NEVER judge anyone again. It has made me a much more compassionate and understanding person.

Good Luck to you!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (21 April 2009):

Honey - it's time to shape up - being a Mom and a wife is tough and lonely sometimes and we crave that fun romance and passion. You are hurting yourself, your husband and especially your children, not to mention his wife and his family. STOP now and grow up! You need to snap out of this. You are in "fantasy" land - it's not real - it's not mature, enduring love. You only get to see the "best" part of him - who he wants to be - when you are together. You are doing the same thing. Does he see the cruddy sweat pants, you throwing in a load of laundry, scrubbing the toilet? No - do you see the day to day of him - NO! Grow up! Embrace your husband and thank GOD for your children. You married your guy - maybe if you stop this fantasy in your head, you can focus on getting a relationship back with your husband - you have to - family first! Life would be miserable for you to go thru a divorce and rip apart your family - you have no idea how dark that is...think about the realities of it. Divorce seems like such an easy answer, but it will be forever horrible. Nobody will look at you again with respect - you'll always be looked down upon, especially if you think you can happily marry this guy - there are way too many odds against you. Be strong and get it together. Go read "After the Affair" by Janis Abrahms and also read "The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. He's a cheater and so are you - grow up...ang go to confession and start living a respectful life.

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A female reader, Poshbird65 United Kingdom +, writes (17 April 2009):

Hi Lucysue,

It seems we have a lot in common. I am only replying to you because I know exactly what you are going through. I do not judge you one bit. I do not love my husband anymore. We have not made love for two years and at a recent family party met a fabulous guy whom I have fallen deeply in love with. My husband and I have two children, but had it not been for the first child would not even be married now. I met my 'friend' totally out of the blue. I wasn't looking I feel it was love at first sight.

As for advice I think I know that you can't stay with your husband if you don't love him anymore, even if there are children involved. That would be the worst thing to do. I am nothing but miserable around my two girls and it kills me. I wish I could be myself and be the happy person they deserve.

I hope my input has been of help even though I don't have any definitive answers. I hope you can keep in touch and let me know how you get on. PB65

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A female reader, cutiepye United States +, writes (16 April 2009):

cutiepye agony auntI have also been married ten yrs I have also cheated and I have also stayed in my marriage for my children. Is that the right reason to stay no def not but over time my husband has forgiven me I've grown to love my husband more than I ever have. A few times I also found men that I thought were so much better than my husband and felt I loved them but it turned out none of them would ever love me the way he does and I sit back and think wow I was ready to split my family apart for him and look now he ended up being a liar or an asshole and none loved me so im glad my children kept us together but if in your heart u don't feel u should stay why don't you just try seperating for awhile to be sure and don't see anyone seriously during that time it won't help make your decision. Best of luck to you wish you happiness!!!

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (14 April 2009):

Wow, you're really in a tough spot. Ask yourself this, did you cheat because you didn't love your husband or do you not love your husband because this other man promised you the moon? If your lover wanted to be with you he would be. He has made his choice and it wasn't you. I don't think your a bad person. This happens everyday. The thing is you have to do what's right for those you have hurt. Nobody is perfect and no advise you get is gonna be the magic answer to your problems. Ultimately the ones you hurt the most are the ones you love the most. Your children. For better or worse you have changed their lives forever.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (14 April 2009):

You have gotten fantastic answers above.

Your husband deserves someone who will love him not someone who will settle for him.

Do yourself and your kids and especially him a favour, show some guts and admit what your affair proved, your marriage is over,

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (14 April 2009):

Lucysue, you will be doing the worse thing by pretending to love your husband. Surely this man deserves better than this. You not only messed up your marriage you tried to do the same to this other man's marriage too. Thank God he has enough sense to stay away from you and try to salvage his marriage. I commend your husband for wanting you still as his wife even though you betrayed him. He made his choice - that is, he still wants his wife. You too have to make a choice - your husband or a divorce.

The word that we hear with affairs is "disengage" and "release" very often. This is how it works.

You needed to disengage from your lover, and in fact he disengaged from you to concentrate on his marriage. Yes, it has hurt you, but what did you expect. That he will leave his long standing marriage for a cheap thrill? Never. You found out the hard way, but imagine what you did to his wife and your husband. Your 6 months of “thrill” has brought about tremendous pain, betrayal, hurt and so forth to two innocent people. Was your affair worth it. For your lover he quickly learnt his lesson. You , you are still hopeful that he will leave his wife for you. He made a decision and as hard as it is for you, you have to let go. Your affair has consumed you. Your affair had a price. Your happiness(???).

Next, lets talk about “releasing” your husband. If you truly do not love him, then you have to do the honorable thing and release him. Too often we are selfish and we want both, the excitement of an affair and the stability of a marriage. Unfortunately that is not possible. By still being with your husband:

- you are stealing his best years from him

- you are preventing him from finding happiness and joy with someone else.

- You are stealing his finances and his resources and consuming them. It is like you having to cough up money for someone else’s use and enjoyment.

- He is still giving 200% in your marriage, you are giving a mere 50%, and this is only to your kids.

- You will slowly erode his life, his joy and make his life miserable (if you haven’t done so already)

It will be a hard long, bitter road for your husband but in the end he will find that little something that you cannot give him. He will find a soul mate that will be happy for him, with him. He will find that special someone who will not be unfaithful to him. After all, I believe he is worth it. I know you don’t think so. But someone out there will actually restore his faith in us females. There are so many women who are looking for decent men, there are so many decent women that just want a chance at happiness. It may be fate or co-incidence but someday these 2 may bump into each other and discover the meaning of love, commitment, loyalty, sanctity of marriage. Surely you want your husband to be happy, since you are not with him?

Regarding your children, they too will be pained when you separate but in the end they want both parents to be happy. And they will see both happy eventually. You will find that if you stay in this marriage you will find that you children will really become a burden to you. Yes, a burden. Why? The pretense all the time. You pretending to love their dad. Your kids deserve better. Sadly one day when they are old enough to understand you need to sit hem down and tell them why you both divorced. As our kids get older we cannot and should not lie to them. I think that when our kids question us, we need to take a brave step , and answer truthfully. In your case, about your affair. You may not want to, but if you want your kids respect as they get older the truth must prevail. You say your kids are your top priority. Where was this priority for 6 months while you were sleeping with this other man? Then they were not priority. You now cannot make this about them. It’s about your life, you chose to have the affair, you were caught and your lover dumped you. You can remedy the situation by either being the best mother to them, even if it means as a single parent. Millions of women are doing a fine job on heir own, you will too. Your husband will not abandon his obligations to them. He will be there for them too. Just separately.

You see, sometimes we really do not have second chances. Your husband wants this second chance but you do not want it because you are still pining away for your lover. He has missed his second chance with you. You want out. What did you love/lust about your lover – the excitement, he understood you better than your husband, he made you feel alive, you were not bored with him. In marriage we all go through patches of difficulty, some choose to work it out, others, like you choose an affair to escape the boredom of everyday life. You have also encountered first hand about the devastation of affairs. Whether you will get over your love for your lover – yes you will, you got over your love for your husband of 10 years. And so you will get over your love for your lover as well. Thankfully it was only 6 months. Slowly, as hours turn to days, as days turn to weeks, as weeks turn to months you will get over him. Realise this, slowly your husband will get over you too. In the months to come you have some soul searching and hard decisions to make. It won’t be easy but you will survive. You have to be honest with your husband. You owe him that at least. I believe you were once in love with him, so yes, you will feel pain at the end of your marriage but the end is necessary. We all believe in martyrdom when in fact we martyrs go through all this because it is actually our own doing. In this difficult time, cry if you need to, but please do the right thing, your yourself since you do not love your husband, for your kids, because you cannot and should not use them as a scapegoat and lastly for your husband because he is innocent and he deserves a chance at finding love again.

All that has happened here is that your heart has moved on – please release all concerned. I wish you well. You said “so try not to judge me too hard”, I have not. I merely tried to open your eyes to the real situation of the devastation of affairs. One poster in another post spoke of “cause and effect”. Perhaps you should also read it.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (14 April 2009):

You don't love your husband now. Did you when you married? And if so, what changed? Is he abusive, neglectful, addicted? Or did you just get bored?

If your husband's a decent guy and you're just bored with the relationship, then yes, you should be putting the children first and staying in the home. Children need adult examples, and sticking to your commitments is an important one. It's not their fault that you wanted a thrill -- don't make them pay for it.

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A female reader, ilovebowsandcherries United Kingdom +, writes (14 April 2009):

ilovebowsandcherries agony auntno do not stay with him because of the children it's fair enough you have there interests at heart and are looking to protect them but if you don't love this man then you can't kid yourself and be with him.

that's just as bad with the children being brought up in a joke of a marriage a marriage that has no love and feeling the children will pick this up and it can affect them.

you need to just tell your husband that you don't love him anymore and you can't risk bringing your children up in an unhappy environment it's not healthy for them

they'll just want you to be happy and if that means not being with the father then so be it.

but don't drag your children down with your unhappiness do what's best move on and find love elsewhere.

Hope this helps.

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