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Still falling apart 13yrs after he cheated

Community Member

Caught hubby cheating 13yrs ago, 9 months into our marriage.

For yrs I was on a fact finding mission trying to know all the details about the affair. Hubby 'drip fed' me some details, minimized, blamed me & claimed he had forgotten much of what went on.

I have always hoped that eventually he would have enough respect (?love) for me & tell me what really happened...I was wrong.

I do know that he;

Blamed me for trapping him. We were preg 2 weeks after we met- NOT intentional. That preg ended in a miscarriage at 12 wks. We were both devastated & decided to get engaged, try for another baby & moved in together.

I fell preg again 2 mths later. During a fight a short time after, I told him that I had lied about how many sexual partners there had been before him. I tried to explain that it was due to me being ashamed & that I slept with men cause I thought that was the extent of my value after being sexually assaulted multiple times as a child/teenager. He didnt want to listen to my 'excuses', was furious about my revelation & left but returned the same day saying that he still wanted to be with me.

9 mths after we were married, with a 6mth old daughter he started cheating. He pursued the other woman vigorously for 3 mths before finally sleeping with her twice.

When I found out about it- after finding txts, he initially denied it. He then 'drip fed' me details that have never added up.

He claims that he didn't talk about me/our relationship with her but on the 2 nights they slept together he had told her we had had a fight & that I was away.

He claims he never planned it or thought he was capable of cheating but invited her to our house the only time I had ever been away, bought wine & played love songs

He said she wasn't his type or better than me but he put everything at risk to be with her.

He claims that the relationship with her was playful, flirtatious & superficial but told her in a txt that "he would never hurt her" & when I wanted to confront her he threatened suicide. They slept together in our bed & she stayed the night, spooning eachother.

He claims that they both agreed that sex was awkward but I found a txt of him telling her how amazing it was.

I could go on & on, but after living with this for 13yrs, not feeling good enough otherwise he would never have strayed in the 1st place I feel stupid for staying, hoping that he would respect me enough to tell the truth.

I feel I need to leave but my self esteem is nonexistent. Do I move on or leave?

7 Replies 7

Community Champion
Community Champion

lost & unloved,

Welcome to the forum.

This is a caring ,friendly and supportive place.

Your post is so moving and I could feel your disappointment and pain.

As I was reading your story I was nodding a bit as I have a few things in common.

I became pregnant a few weeks after meeting my first husband and he never forgave me.

I told him about my sexual,past, as I hadn’t been manic and thought one should be honest but the he never trusted me again.

I know this is different but I understand the co,pexity and the hurt you felt when he cheated and you were so fixated on all the details of the infedility as you wanted to make sense of it all.

Are there moments from the last 13 years when you feel good about yourself? Do you feel confident with your daughter and enjoy being with her.?

Only you know what you need to do. how do you see your life in 5 years if you stay and how do you think it maybe if you leave?

Are there times when you get on with your husband and don’t focus on his cheating. Or is it something that affects your relationship all the time?

I am wondering have you both been or are willing to go to a relationship counsellor?

i ask questions so I can help understand you. only answer then if you feel comfortable.

thanks for being so honest in your post.


Community Member

Dear Lost & unloved

I feel your pain, my husband of over 30 years cheated on me 5 years ago and I still have moments of anger and disbelieve.

No one can tell you whether to stay or go, it is a decision you must make on your own.

Please seek help or even a non judgemental friend you can rely on and talk to.

I have found strength in looking after myself first, exercising mainly walking also meditating (there are some great fee apps available).

I stayed with my husband initially because of practical reasons,( home and financial). I consulted my GP and was given a mental health plan which gave me access to counselling covered partially by Medicare.

Our relationship has improved however it will never be the same. My husband once asked me if I had forgiven him, I don’t know what forgiveness actually means however I have accepted it happened and tried my hardest to move forward.

I also saw texts that I found hurtful but soon realised he was lying to her just as much as he was lying to me.

Remember you are a strong beautiful women, choose your destiny and move forward. You are number 1 and you can make yourself happy again. Don’t blame yourself for his straying, it is his decision and issue with his own self esteem or ego not yours.

take care and learn to love the woman you are

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi lost & unloved,

I’m so sorry that you’re feeling this way. Betrayal is hard for anyone to get over in a relationship, but I imagine it would be much easier to get over if it had just been a drunken night with some random and he confessed and apologized straight afterward and showed regret. Instead you’ve had to deal with him either hiding or omitting facts and slowly telling you what happened. In my experience, men who have been cheated on tend to want to know “did you sleep with him” and tend to focus more on the act itself, whereas women want to know “did you love her” and focus more on the feeling. The fact that it was him that pursued her vigorously must have been a real blow. It feels to me that, due to circumstances outside of your control, you’ve never been made to really feel secure in the relationship. He may not understand your point of view on this, which will be upsetting for you. But it might be nice to see a relationship counselor who validated your feelings and tells you that you’re not crazy for feeling the way you are. I think you haven’t gotten over this because your feelings haven’t been acknowledged and he hasn’t sufficiently repented to make you feel confident that he won’t ever do it again.

Hi Quirkyword's.

Thank you for your reply & for sharing your similar experiences.

At my insistence, hubby & I did go to quite a few counselors but I was left totally bewildered after;

The 1st one wanted to focus solely on the 'hurt' that he must have felt being lied to about my number of sexual partners. He said "it takes both parties to let a relationship get to the point where 1 person feels that cheating is the only option"

The 2nd wanted to focus on my extensive history of sexual assault & said that I was overreacting & needed to forgive the men who sexually assaulted me before I would be able to forgive my husband.

There were a couple more counselors we tried that were no good as well which lead me to loose patience, hope whilst wasting lots of $$$ too.

I have been able to feel better about myself & more secure in my marriage a couple of times since he cheated. I did this by dieting & working out to the point of obsession. The fact that hubby was far more attentive & attracted to me during these times just adds to my confusion.

Our daughter is quite emotionally unstable & I really have to attribute it to the massive instability there was constantly in the household with my husband & I while I tried to fight to keep us together.

I am trying to figure out if I still love my husband or if dont love him but cant let go of the future/relationship that I thought we were going to have before he cheated...its harder than it sounds.

Hi Jarh

Thank you for replying to my post & for sharing your own experiences with your husband cheating.

Just having the words that you wrote to go on, you seem soo strong! What made you decide to stay? 30yrs would be hard to throw away but it would make it worse in a way because I would question how he could do that after all those years together.

I fear that I have been the one to do all of the digging deep & trying to move on (I dont think I could ever forgive) & to better myself whilst he claims that he has matured & just wont let himself ever be in that situation again but even to this day, doesn't really know what lead him to be so unhappy that he was able to totally ignore his marriage vowels only 9mths prior or what changed so that he wanted to love me & only me.

I want to be strong & love myself but I have never felt like that in.my life before & dont know where to start.

Thanks for your thoughts/opinion Juliet_84.

You are right. It does really matter to me that he could put all that effort into chasing her but never even thought about trying to talk to me about what was bothering him.

It makes it 1000x more hurtful that he seemed to almost be dating her for that extended amount of time before they finally slept together. Since he says that it was all just an act where he did & said the right things to try keep getting the attention he wanted from her it makes me concerned about how genuine he really is & what act he is putting on for me.

I wish I could just find a professional to talk to that actually worked with me on;

-repairing my self esteem,

-working through the hurt &

-how to decide to stay or leave

Hi lost & unloved,

I can imagine what a blow to your confidence that must have been. But there’s a quote I’ve always loved, “your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth” and I think that’s true in your instance. How people see you, your husband included, says less about you and more about them. But you need to get some power back, instead of putting it in other people’s hands. You can always leave, you can always start over, but I think you need to take back control of you. I think keep going to a health professional until you find the one that fits is a good idea. Someone that can help you with finding “you” again, because you are in there. They likely won’t make the decision about whether to stay or leave,but they can help you get to a point where you will be ok with whatever you choose.