Dear Dr. Eris,
I just found out that my husband is having an affair with his co-worker. We have been married for 11 years and I am devastated. Everyone has always said how much they love our marriage and that they wished that theirs was more like ours. I never thought that this would happen in our marriage. We have 2 children ages 5 and 8. If it wasn’t for them, I would leave my husband as this pain in unbearable. However, I don’t want for our family to be torn apart.
My husband says that he will do anything for me to forgive him. I don’t know if I can trust him again. You know what they say, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” I just don’t know what to do. Can our marriage survive infidelity? Will I ever be able to forgive him? I want to make our marriage work I just don’t know how.
Dr. Eris Suggests,
First of all I am so sorry that you are going through this. I can imagine how difficult this must be. I want for you to know that whatever you are experiencing right now is normal given your current circumstance. You are probably having sleepless nights, a difficult time eating and you are probably crying a lot. Don’t judge yourself for having the feelings that you are experiencing. Take a breath because you will get through this.
Since you write to me saying that you want your marriage to work, I want for you to know that infidelity does not have to be a marriage deal breaker. I have worked with countless couples over the years who have experienced betrayal and heartache. They worked really hard at making their relationship work. They worked through their painful feelings and they came through to the other side. For many, their marriage became even stronger after they worked through this crisis together. The same thing can happen to you and your husband.
Healing infidelity is not a simple process and it takes time. You will begin to feel great in some moments in the healing process, as if you have come so far, and then something might remind you of the affair and you might feel as if you are starting all over again. Be patient. It takes time, commitment and work. Deal with the infidelity together instead of being opponents.
I suggest that you and your husband find a therapist to help you through this difficult time. Find someone who understands that your goal is to make your marriage work.