I decided to stay with my husband even after I caught him cheating.
My mother called me stupid and hung up the phone when I told her about it. One of my sisters slapped the back of my head so hard, I was literally dizzied for a few minutes. Another sister of mine acted like she couldn’t care less. Insensitive, true. My older brother, on the other hand, held me and told me that it will all be OK. Apparently, he cheated on his wife a year ago and they survived it all.
You might think that what cheating is would be obvious. You might think that what an orgasm is would be obvious too, but that isn’t always so either. — Isadora Alman MFT, CST
I love him, I said. And I am willing to look past his indiscretion because I promised in front of God that I will be by his side “for better or for worse”. If he were some loser guy, I would have packed my bags and left him in a whim. But this is my husband, my best friend and my life. His weakness is not the whole person that he is. Actually, he broke his silence and told me of the affair. I was that clueless. That’s how I “caught” him cheating.
Everyone left my house furious at me, but my brother stayed behind. For the past 38 years of my life, I have never seen him so serious. He was just looking at me funny and there’s a frown on his face. I was shocked when I saw him shed a tear.
He continued on by saying how sorry he was that this happened to me and that he also mentioned, “I will never cheat on Tina again. Never.” In a way, I had to comfort him too and I saw in his face the same reaction that I have seen with my husband – the look of guilt and remorse.
I asked him if his wife was giving him a hard time. He cried some more and said that, she was an angel. After the initial shock of discovery, his wife said that she’d stay and agreed to patch the problem. They had a very long conversation, though.
People in unfaithful relationships can be miserable and hopeless, trapped in the sadness of sacrificing themselves. — Suzanne Lachmann Psy.D.
Betrayed spouses need all types of support.
My brother’s wife said that she had to leave for a brief time and indulge herself in a “betrayed wives” camp. When she came back, his wife was more open to communicating with him and more understanding, as well. She also went into talk therapy and they are both seeing a marriage counselor for some relationship therapy program. My brother said that the support pouring in on them was an eye opener.
Closure and disclosure must be addressed to, so that the couple can move on positively.
One night, my brother’s wife asked him if they can talk about his affair. My brother said that at first, he was hesitant. But she reminded him what the therapist said – closure and disclosure. It had to be done. She asked him all sorts of questions and the answers really stung her, he said. His wife would cry, laugh, get a bit angry, but would calm herself down. My brother told her that he is an open book from now on and that all questions will be answered in real time, anytime, and anywhere.
You are rarely or never able to have an argument and feel like you actually made progress in resolving an issue or understanding the other better. — Maria Baratta Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
Accountability on the part of the wayward spouse, at all times.
There were times when my brother’s wife was annoying – always asking where he is and what time he will be back, he said. He had to endure it because his wife was having trouble with him being away from her. All the memories of him cheating was coming back to her. And so, for her peace of mind, he set up a personal CCTV camera in his office for her to be able to “monitor” him. They would also Facetime regularly, at first. Now, a year after, my brother said that she would rarely log in on the CCTV website. His being accountable and patient, above all, has paid off.
The betrayer needs to come clean and “quit” everything.
He told me that he deleted his dating app (where it all started for him), got rid of his extra phone and closed all email and social media accounts related to his “deed”. My brother showed it to his wife even if she didn’t ask him to do it. He just wanted to come clean, he said, and if that means humiliating himself many times, he didn’t care.
STD testing is necessary for the cheating spouse.
His wife asked him to subject himself to an STD test. My brother, with a heavy heart, set an appointment. I asked him of the results and he said – “I DON’T HAVE STD”. It was so fun to tease him.
Intimacy must be not be rushed after the affair.
My brother confessed that he had to wait two months before his “manly needs” were satisfied again. I laughed so hard when he said this because I know for a fact that my big bro is a “loving” guy. He said it was all worth the wait because it was like their “first time” again. They went on a mini-vacation and just had fun. It was on their 15th wedding anniversary when they reconnected again.
Once again, couples counseling is imperative.
It is one of the things holding their marriage right now, he said. Couples counseling is very important for those who has suffered the evil that is called “affair”. (He calls it “evil”.) My brother handed me the card of their counselor and he also suggested a website where we can find online help for our marriage issues.
He gave me the tightest hug and a peck on my forehead. My brother even said that I give my husband a chance to be a better man and for our family to heal. He also told me that he has my back and that if all else fails, at least, I tried – he said.
As he walked out the door, I received a text message from my husband – Please talk to me. I can’t even begin to say how sorry I am. My words are not enough. Please take me back. I love you with all my heart.
Ok. Let’s talk.
Interview conducted by author.