Africa-Press – Ethiopia. A few months back, I found out that my husband of 10 years has been cheating on me with more than one woman. I have undeniable evidence although I cannot divulge it here. I have not confronted him about it because I think it is a waste of time. Since then, I have lost desire for him sexually. Whenever he tries to initiate sexual intercourse, so many things come into my head with the scariest being the possibility of being infected with a sexually transmitted disease. I have talked to a trusted friend who has advised me to tell him and together, decide what to do next. I am hurt and unable to move past the betrayal. Should I just call it quits?
When people commit infidelity it is entirely their decision and blame should not be put on their partner. That being said, it is important to understand some of the reasons people feel compelled to cheat, so that you can address the problems within your relationship and avoid infidelity. As much as we hate to believe it, even the happiest people cheat while they are in romantic relationships.
Few marital problems cause as much heartache and devastation as infidelity, which undermines the foundation of marriage itself. However, when both spouses are committed to real healing, most marriages survive and many marriages become stronger with deeper levels of intimacy.
The initial discovery of an affair usually triggers powerful emotions for both partners, as well as a sense of loss. The partner who has been cheated on might feel traumatised by the betrayal of trust and obsessively think about the details of the affair. The partner who committed the infidelity might fear being punished forever. It is usually difficult at this time to think clearly enough to make long-term decisions.
It is important to avoid making rash decisions. If you think you might physically hurt yourself or someone else, seek professional help immediately. Also, the discovery of an affair is always intense. You might find yourself acting erratically or unlike yourself as you attempt to grasp what has happened. Try to avoid emotionally intense discussions as you begin the healing process. Take your time. Even though you might have a deep desire to understand what has happened, avoid delving into the intimate details of the affair initially. Doing so without professional guidance might be harmful.
Recovering from an affair will be one of the most challenging chapters in your life. This challenge may come with uncertainty. However, as you rebuild trust, admit guilt, learn how to forgive and reconcile struggles, it can deepen and strengthen the love and affection we all desire. Consider these steps to promote healing:
Before choosing to continue or end your marriage, take the time to heal and understand what was behind the affair. Get help from different sources. Seek the help of nonjudgmental, understanding friends, experienced spiritual leaders or a trained counsellor. Marriage counselling can help you put the affair into perspective, identify issues that might have contributed to the affair, learn how to rebuild and strengthen your relationship, and avoid divorce; if that is the mutual goal.
Make a plan to restore trust and reconciliation. Agree on a timetable and process. If you were unfaithful, admit guilt and pursue authentic forgiveness. If your partner was unfaithful, when you are able, offer forgiveness. Together, seek understanding.
You are angry and hurt; anyone human would be. However, avoid making decisions when you are not in the right frame of mind. Take time to calm down and then speak to your husband. In such circumstances, a couple must compromise and move on, especially for the sake of their innocent children.
Consider your vows
Unless you wrote yourself an “out” into your vows, you promised to stay in for the long-haul; for good, irrespective of circumstances. In return for that commitment, you would enjoy the good times, and you would fight together in the hard times. And you also accepted this reality. You understood you might have to carry the whole load yourself for a time, should something tragic happen. Reflect before you break a promise you made to yourself.
Think this through
You have accumulated more than simply memories. You will have collected things, you have, maybe, made a home. You might share children too. I am not making the argument that anyone should stay in a relationship because of the children. I think relationships will stand if their foundations are good and they get nourishment, not because the people in them have any obligations to others. But you have also shared your dreams, and may have achieved some of them together. You have shared hardships, and may have pulled one another off more than one cliff already. Think through all this before making your decision.
What if you get sick?
Quit and save your life. I believe that when a man starts cheating, it is hard for them to stop. Being the faithful partner, you are prone to getting all kinds of diseases with some being fatal. I think for the sake of your health and that of your children, you should leave and just remain parents to your beautiful children.
He does not love you
Mac JB Bukenya.
Face your fears, speak out, and set your heart, body and mind free by letting go. Cheating is not accidental. The partners plan, link, connect and execute their mission. If he decided to seek happiness elsewhere, why then come back to you?
Talk to your husband
Keeping quiet is being selfish. Talk to your husband and let him know that you are hurting. If he really loves you, he will change and do everything possible to ensure that your marriage works.
Do not leave
Do not leave. Instead, confront him and tell him your fears. If he does not change, involve your family and pray about it.
Involve a third party
It is a difficult time you are facing but keeping quiet will not help you. 10 years is such a long time to just quit. Talk to your husband and if possible, involve a third party who will listen to both of you and offer advice without being judgmental.
Evelyn Kharono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation