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Real Talk: The Day I Found Out My Husband Was Cheating And Everything After

In that moment, I knew three things to be true: my husband was a great father, my husband had broken my heart, and figuring out what to do next was going to be far more complicated than I had thought.

I was sitting at my desk at work, fingers poised on the keyboard. I took a deep breath and entered in my best guess for my husband's email password. One click later, I found out I was right -- about both his password and my hunch that he was having an affair. I've never in my life wished more that I had been wrong.

Once I had hacked into his email account and then his Twitter account, I couldn't stop reading. There were just so many messages. There were conversations about books and music but also graphic descriptions of sex and, most painfully, declarations of love and yearning. I read until I couldn't anymore and then walked to my car. I sat, sobbing, in the parking lot as afternoon turned to evening. My cell phone pinged with a message from my husband:

"Hey hon, r u on the way? XO"

It was the XO at the end that turned my sorrow at finding out that my marriage was a lie into burning hot anger. I drove home on autopilot, thinking the whole time about the names I would call him, wondering if I was capable of slapping him hard enough that he would hurt as badly as I did. I imagined handling this like a movie heroine, throwing him out and then setting his clothes on fire. I drove home thinking, "This is it, the last day of our marriage. The last day I drive home to my husband."

I walked into the house to see him, the liar, the cheater, the asshole, tenderly combing our daughter's hair. She was resting her head on his leg and they were singing her favorite song together. She looked like every inch the daddy's girl that she is, and the gentleness that he used to coax a stubborn tangle out of her hair reminded me of how much he loved her and had since her first breath.

The liar. The cheater. The father of my children.

In that moment, I knew three things to be true: my husband was a great father, my husband had broken my heart, and figuring out what to do next was going to be far more complicated than I had thought.

In the days that followed, after I confronted him and the terrible truth spilled out, I was never certain I was doing the right thing. I asked him to move out, but I also asked him to come home every morning to take the kids to school like usual and to stay for dinner every night. I told him to see a counselor but refused to go to marriage counseling. I moved money out of our joint account and into a separate account in my name and tried to figure out if I could afford to stay in the house without him. I tried to imagine life without him. I tried to imagine life with him. The thought of ever kissing him again seemed impossible. I mostly thought about the kids and what was best for them.

Those first days and weeks after finding out about the affair were some of the loneliest of my life. Even though I had done nothing wrong, I felt shame and embarrassment that kept me from confiding in my friends. My uncertainty about the future and the tiny glimmer of hope I had that we might be able to make it through this kept me silent. What if I told and then we got back together? Would my friends -- OUR friends -- hate him forever? I think I was also afraid to say it out loud, that saying my husband cheated would make it even more real. I wanted to tell them that I hated him, despised him, would never love him again, but I couldn't help but hope that maybe I could love him again someday. Love is messy. Marriage is messy. Affairs are REALLY, really messy.

It has been just over a year since the day I opened his email. We are, for now, still together. We parent well together and we get along with each other. He still makes me laugh. I can go days and even weeks now without thinking about the affair and the other woman. And then there are days I hear him typing on the computer and I feel sick to my stomach and I wonder if I will ever trust him again.

I know something now that I didn't then. There is no template for how to handle an affair. There is no perfect script. Real life isn't a movie, and setting his clothes on fire will probably get you arrested. Instead, you do the best you can to take care of yourself, to take care of your children, and to keep getting up every morning until the day it doesn't hurt quite as badly as before.

In time, you discover if your marriage is broken or just bent, taking on a new shape, a new normal. And, if you are really lucky, someday you figure out how to forgive and learn how to live with the knowledge that someone can both love you deeply and cheat on you.

Love is messy. Marriage is messy. Life goes on.

All Comments (11)
  • Vivi 7400

    Vivi 7400

    2020-01-19 21:09:38

    I’ve been cheated on and trust we all take out situations different cause we all experience differently. But I give you respect for not turning into that bitter women and taking the kids away from cause most women will do that. I would never do that to my husband either, our son loves him so much and looks up to him. I wish you nothing but the best and stay strong but if anything if you can’t trust him then there is no marriage unless you really fight for that.

  • Shirley Odonnell

    Shirley Odonnell

    2020-01-21 14:40:01

    did you go back

  • Jodi Bierwiler

    Jodi Bierwiler

    2020-01-26 14:20:03

    so she stayed with him? how truly sad. for me once I found out, that trust is gone. just staying together for the kids isn't healthy either. wow...

  • Savannah Mouse

    Savannah Mouse

    2020-01-28 23:36:36

    Great saying but always know that love Yourself and you never know someday you might find someone else that he is than him ok keep on fighting 🥊

  • Savannah Mouse

    Savannah Mouse

    2020-01-28 23:38:31

    And don't forget love yourself care for your self and raise you kids good ok

  • Kira Tobias

    Kira Tobias

    2020-01-29 16:20:40

    im sorry,i cant relate to any woman that stays with a man after cheating. You are accepting disrespect. Loving yourself is finding better and doing better. what is the point of being with him if you sont trust him. That can drive you to cheat. after a betrayal like that co-parenting and healing yourself is the best option. now he mostly likely will cheat again in the future but try to cover his tracks better because he knows now their will only be a short separation and you will be back. Honey love yourself. The kids needs a happy mother.

  • Shreya Jaiswal

    Shreya Jaiswal

    2020-02-02 03:36:50

    I cant imagine being with a person who has broken my trust and has been unfaithful. you're strong to act calmly in that situation and handled it bravely for your daughter's sake but honey you should love yourself. being with someone who has already broken your trust was not honest and faithful with you for a long period of time neglecting that you are his wife and mother of his child, he cannot be trusted again. once a cheater always a cheater. remember to love yourself, your child deserves happiness and honesty. maybe now you guys will be able to work it out but in future you're only restricting yourself from being with someone better than him you deserve better than a cheating man. but in the end it's your life and your decisions. hope you make the right and best choice and be happy

  • Jennifer Atkinson

    Jennifer Atkinson

    2020-02-03 03:42:49

    I wouldn't take him back after he cheated on me with another woman I couldn't see myself hurt anymore so I would have filed for divorce & grant him visitation rights to see our child every other weekend

  • Rejia Cohen

    Rejia Cohen

    2020-02-05 04:37:29

    This is very touching

  • Joya Freeman

    Joya Freeman

    2020-02-06 15:25:08

    To be honest I really think people forgot about marriage vows , it’s for better or for worst, that’s why you make the vows in the beginning before you or him messes up.. In a marriage I think you can work anything out except a outside baby🤷🏾‍♀️ just my opinion. I don’t see any wrong for what you did in taking him back.. That’s your family and you did what you did to make it work.. Everybody looks at life from different perspectives so don’t be mean to someone because they have different view from you

  • Kateisa Engram

    Kateisa Engram

    2020-02-08 02:36:25

    Listen, I applaud all you said here. I’ve been in the same situation and actually divorced my husband and remarried him after counseling and therapy. We are in a better place now than before I even found out. Marriage can’t be understood by ppl who have never been married. If the first thing you do is leave because of cheating, then up don’t need to be married. I’m not excusing any disrespectful behavior. I’m saying things are much bigger than a bad decision. If he’s willing to try and do whatever it takes, fight with him. I didn’t take my issues to any friends or family cause when it’s all said and done, a marriage is between two ppl only. Some of those same ppl who said they wouldn’t have taken my husband back are now asking how we did it. How are we so much happier and how can they forgive their significant other. Make your decisions for you and no one else. Love this.

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Cece

Cece

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