Cheating Husband – He knows your FEAR

I would like to share with you a secret that I have discovered over the years about cheating husbands. Once they get caught cheating, they know that they have done wrong, they know that what they did is not fair —- but most importantly, they know your fears. They know that you are fearful of the financial ramifications of leaving. They know you do not want your friends or family knowing that he cheating. They know that you do not want the kids to be impacted by divorce. They secretly know this and unfortunately sometimes use it to their advantage. They know that you really do not want to leave the lifestyle, and if it means the world to you, they know you won’t leave.

My ex-husband knew that if I left him, it would be a financial disaster. He knew my worst fear was filing bankruptcy and not having money. He knew I did not want my friends and family to know that he cheated. He knew it would devastate me to raise the kids alone. Did he ever say this? No, but he knew. And because of this, he didn’t work as hard, because he did not think I was going anywhere. It took me a long time to get over my fears of raising the kids alone, my fears of financial disaster, and my fear of telling people. But I did, and I eventually left, and he was surprised! Did not think I would do it.

Looking back, I think it is important to have a conversation with your husband after the affair around fears previously expressed. You do not want your husband to be in a position where he feels your fears of leaving will keep you there no matter what. Let him know that despite your fears, you do have a choice, and that choice does include leaving. Even if you are not ready to leave, he should know that you will exercise your right to leave and that you are in a position to deal with the ramifications.

If your husband cheated, he should be working hard to save the marriage, and sometimes you have to let him know through actions and words that you seriously will leave if you continue to be disrespected.

15 thoughts on “Cheating Husband – He knows your FEAR”

  1. Jewels…Amen! Yes,everyone should have that conversation with their significant other. I completely agree on them knowing your fears. I think that as part of that conversation (if you decide to stay or not) the “deal breakers” should be included. Take a list if you have to, but have that conversation. I know it was a huge part of our healing process, and the first step-in building a new marriage together. Lay it out on the line for them ladies…. They need to hear you say that you will never be disrespected again and know you mean it. Luckily my husband got the message loud and clear and has been remarkable during my healing process, and our marriage is the best it has ever been. But one thing I do want to impress upon those that have this conversation, be ready to have it …it takes courage to say those words and be willing to have faith in yourself that you will live by your words no matter how painful it would be. My therapist told me early on that if I wanted to make something a deal breaker, be willing to stand by it… And know it could end my marriage. I was willing to take that chance, and so far so good. That doesn’t mean that he won’t ever cheat again, I know that, but if he does the exit plan is there. One of my girlfriends asked me if that was really a way to be married, with rules, etc…. I reminded her that that is what commitment is… You both commit to living by the rules of your vows…. He broke the rules, so obviously he needed new more specific ones 🙂 no, seriously.. I wish we had had the conversation before the affair, but who ever thinks that after 24 years of faithful marriage you need new rules.
    Now 3 years later, I can say I did make the right choice to stay…. For me the healing truly started with the conversation you are talking about…it was the first time I took charge of my life just for me! From that point forward I believed in myself for the first time in a long, long time. 🙂
    Ladies, this truly is a place for healing, I don’t post very often anymore, my life is crazy with a senior in high school and a competitive soccer player in my house, plus my free time now is spent running (half marathon this summer-great therapy too…amazing at pounding out those triggers at first) or spending quality time with my husband. But I check in often and read about all of you. Even if I don’t respond, all of you are always in my thoughts and prayers. This is a journey no one takes alone. Jewels, Ella, Melville, ladygator, gimlet, etc… too many to name but you know who you are… you and your wisdom has helped transform me into the woman I am now, and you will forever be part of my heart.
    Continued safe journeys my friends, may you all find true happiness for YOU!
    Have a safe summer and do something nice for yourself this week. You deserve it!
    Peace and blessings …JB

    1. JB – always good to hear from you and your positive energy! I am so glad that you and your family are doing well. Thank you for checking in. You are the example of what I hope for in every women that visits. I hope they see this site as a place for support and healing, and for them to not feel alone. I hope they use the site as a way to help understand and process their feelings. And I hope they see with the positive stories that they can recovery. The site is meant for women in a certain season in their lives, and the thought it that they move on, feel empowered, and live wonderful lives. So thank you for being that example!
      You are so right about having the courage to have the conversation and stick by your deal breaker. I think many women do not have the conversation because they are afraid of having to stand by what they said If they don’t, the husband will call their bluff and now you have even more problems. Also sometimes, having the conversation is the problem, meaning you avoid talking because you can’t talk as a couple. It always leads to frustration, arguments, and pain. I remember clearly when I had that moment with my ex-husband when I said ‘I literally can not have a productive conversation with my own husband. Something is very wrong with this situation. It should not be this hard to talk.” I didn’t focus on communication as much as I should of in the beginning courting stages, it I did, I would of realized that our communication style was not compatible. But I don’t regret a single moment, you live and you learn and you grow. Again – so happy for you and your rich life – many blessings to you!

  2. JB– so good to hear from you. I’m so happy you are in a such a great place. I’m doing better I think….but tonight just had a re-trigger — saw someone my H was friends with behind my back — she lives about a half mile away — I used to wave to her just to be friendly not knowing my H actually knew her — and conversed/had lunch/worked with her. He never told me even though I pointed her out one day that she seemed friendly. Anyway — that was one of many lies. We have moved on and are better — but BAM….. I saw her tonight — drove right past her on the street — and back I go…. how did you deal with the triggers? It set me back again and everything has been going ok. I was noticeably shaken when I got home — so much so that my H had to ask me what was wrong — then I have to tell him and then we both feel like crap for the next two hours. I hate that. My H has had multiple transgressions — has not slept with them — but inappropriate and would have gone that far. they went far enough. I have accepted this part of our marriage – -bumps in the road — but it still is so hard when we are the ones who were so wronged. My H has been great too — sounds much like yours — but your strength to keep going and stay so positive is what I aspire to. Any more words of wisdom on breaking through the triggers would be so great. I’m ok most of the time and we are doing so much better. but I can go right back when re-triggered. UGH — so frustrating. Wish I knew that this will be worth it in 5 years — or down the road… 🙂 Hugs to you. Thanks for the positive story!!! (And yes — i’m like you — I did have that conversation with my H — so he definitely knows!) 🙂

  3. Jewels and Ella, Thanks again for showing me and reminding me just how far we all have come in this journey together. Thank you also for your kind words of support. It has been a long journey and everyday holds its challenges for sure. My H and I are in a good place, but it has been a lot of work and like you said Jewels a lot of communication! Oh the hours and hours and hours we have talked. It is a little scary to think back on how little we talked (really talked) before the affair. It was definitely one of the “nails in the coffin” as they say in our old marriage. We let life get in the way for sure and while we regret as a couple that we got to that point we also know it wouldn’t have changed without the affair. Ella, I too still have moments when my heart skips a beat or that knot in my stomach finds its way back, but I think for me two things have made them insignificant for me… 1) I know now that they are just triggers…I let them happen and let them pass. I don’t dwell on them or let myself put energy into them. I just keep on trudging through my day and say to myself, “it is in the past, it was what it was, you are stronger than this trigger and you have NOTHING to be ashamed of, this is not about you, it is about him making poor choices, he must live with this mistake …not Me!” 2) If it lingers or swims around in my head for any extended period of time (my personal threshold is 30 minutes) I tell him, and he has to go back there with me. Not for long, but he has to help me process it until I am satisfied that I have all the information, facts, events, etc… Straight in my head. I have to admit that it doesn’t happen often anymore, but if and when it does I process it- plain and simple. The thing about this is that it makes me in control of my mental health, not him, not my therapist… It gives me the power! I have spent the last 3 years on the crazy train with everyone else here, but early on I was one of the lucky ones… My H stepped up and was willing to communicate and talk it out. It wasn’t easy …we struggled and pushed our way through all the ugly stuff day in and day out at first, but then I found myself more in control and more aware of what made me feel whole, secure, at peace within and with myself. At 49 years old I can finally say “I am in charge of my own happiness and I worked hard and continue to work hard daily for that.” When you say after a trigger, you feel terrible … Well you should that is what triggers are…tidbits of emotion sitting on the edge of chaos that remind you of a painful event. The thing you have to do is work through it. Instead of just telling your H what is wrong and feeling like s$*t for the next two hours. TALK… Be honest with yourself and him. Dig deep and process that feeling… If it is the betrayal that has you stuck… Tell him. If it is the secret nature of his friendships, tell him. If it is the lying, tell him. You have that right, don’t feel bad that you have these feelings, you are supposed to until you are done with it, have the answers you need, and feel at peace for YOU not him… that is something he has to do for himself. Your H is trying, but he can’t read your mind, he can’t feel the pain in your stomach, he can’t hear those tiny destructive voices in your head…. He can only respond to what you are willing to verbalize to him. It also has helped my H ( and me) understand what true communication is and how just by letting things out and into the open can solve so much. We are both better at that now… But we are still learning everyday. That being said, some H don’t or can’t communicate… I have read that over and over here, and my own father was that way…too set in his ways and stubborn…he died a lonely, old, man… such a waste in my eyes. Sad to say, but it is the truth, this lack of willingness to be open and communicate is what will be the demise of ALL their relationships (personal and business) in life until the figure out how. If they shut down or refuse to talk it out, then they really aren’t a partner and it is time to move on and find the person that will be that for you! We all deserve honest open communication with those in our lives.
    As time passes, the details and events of that dark time in all our lives start to fade. The pain is gone or at least less severe. Other things take priority in our lives and replace the constant focus on the affair and betrayal. That is life my friends. What is important and key in survival of such events is that with each experience we all learn lessons about our choices in life, we learn more about who WE are and what we want and don’t want, we learn more about the people that are part of our lives- good and bad, and most importantly we gain strength in the fact we survived. Use that strength to move you forward, grab on and take charge, make yourself a priority … Once you are the priority and not the affair you will no longer feel wronged or stuck, because it wasn’t your mistake… It was his.
    I would never want to live through that again and I know I won’t … Not because he won’t cheat (he may), but I can’t control that and if I spend my life focused on what HE should or should not do I will miss out on all the good stuff for ME!
    The other bit of advice that I can share … That worked for me.. And I have said it before… Do something new for YOU! I mean something that your heart desires, something that you long for, a challenge, a commitment to yourself, something to focus energy into…. It is liberating! For me it has been exercise I run and do yoga. Because I work full time as a teacher, am a mother to two active teenagers, and am in “go” mode most of the time…I had very little time for me. That was another area where I let life control my happiness. You have to “feed your soul” and it has to be a PRIORITY! So many women and men too, forget to feed their souls.. It is what keeps life interesting, adventurous, and fulfilling. Some people travel great distances and search for along time trying to find it, but it really lies in each one of us… You just have to be willing to put yourself out there and try… It will come I promise. Life changing events like an affair, death, divorce, illness, natural disaster, etc… All provide perspective for us… They are wake up calls… they are events that change us at the core, they can break you if you let them or they teach us like you say Jewels …they lead to empowerment and clarity. Life is short, it is finite , someday it will end… You must decide if you want to experience it to the best of your ability or let someone else guide you down their path. Both are possible. I hope everyone here chooses their own path and puts focus on themselves and not someone else. If their path crosses yours in a healthy fullfiiling way Great, but they have to do their own work to get there. Your responsibility is You….
    Better go, have 100 things to do today, I will leave you all with my favorite quote from Thoreau ” Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you imagined.” Stay strong, keep searching, and don’t let fear hold you back. Much love to you all… Peace and Blessings. JB

  4. Everyone has these fears! All I know is that prepare yourself while living with them. In my case, i didn’t waste time. I found out my husband was cheating long time ago. I planned my future ever since. I started college back in 2011 and now i am in a degree program. I am saving money staying with him. I made him stay so i can be prepared. I made him realize that if he stays with me, it benefits him financially. I would help him. All I need is time to have some support or help to achieve my goal (degree). I know he loves kids and that he wouldn’t abandon his kids and let them live on streets. I take care of myself, I only look at ME, MY future, MY Career. There is only ME and not HIM. I know that He only blackmails me to control me. I don’t care what he thinks, All I care is about ME and MY kids.

  5. My husband was cheating on me and I caught him in January 2013. It was like for almost 3 months …..I know this by phone records . He used to come late from work in December and January 2013 . When I used to call him he used to be rude . All of a sudden during these month he started saying that he does not love me ,does not want to have any emotional connection. After being caught he said that he made a mistake and he is so sorry. He said that every marriage should be given a chance.I see some changes in him ….like he is trying to be my loving husband but I am not able to trust him. I really don’t know what to do ?

    1. Niki – If you want to give him another chance, then that is your decision, but make sure it is clear to him that it is a chance,not multiple chances, and define your terms. If you catch him again, is it over? Do you want him to be transparent with his cell phone and email? Is he responsible for setting up therapy? Trust is rebuilt by transparency, communication, and hard work. He has to put in the brunt of the hard work to show you that he is really committed to being given a second chance. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to rebuild trust, it takes time and effort.

      Angel – it seems like you have a strategy together, which is good. So are you guys living together just for financial purposes but not really together? It also seems like you have been executing since 2011.If the goal is to at some point leave, make sure you don’t get too comfortable, unless you like the set up. Take care!

  6. I found my husband was cheating on me with a woman twenty years younger than me two months ago and I have to say yes I am afraid and it is not because of the money, I make more than him. I am afraid of my children, family and friends finding out. I am afraid of everyone just showing pity to me because they feel sorry for me. Our youngest child will be leaving for the military and he thinks because she is in the house I will do nothing. He has not really apologized or has done nothing to really makes me believe that he is really sorry for what he did. As a matter of fact I think he is angry with me because I did put a stop to him seeing the girl by letting her know his real situation, which turned her off and she stopped contacting him. I think he is angry about having to look at me every day and he does not have much sexual contact with me and if he does it is like a very cold and unfeeling situation. I find myself really not knowing what to do or how to handle any of it. I do want to go in our guest room but he refuses to help me set this up because he thinks it will look bad to my daughter. I am trying to be patient with the entire situation but I do not know what to do. I never thought that I would be married but so alone at the same time. Weekends are hell because we barely talk, he just gets drunk the entire weekend until I go back to work the following week. When I go back to work he seems to have a great time with our daughter, taken her shopping and out to eat, something I never get treated to. I find myself crying to myself all the time in fear of pure hopelessness and in a state of confusion. I thought I would try and make it work but after he kept treating me so awful I knew this was not what he wanted but I want someone who will love me. I want to be held and made to love to by someone who loves me and I am starting to feel that will not happen for me at all. I feel at the end of my rope.

    1. Shine,
      I was embarrassed as well, at first. What will people say about me, about us? But holding it in was killing me softly. I had all these emotions bottled up and it was horrible. Finally I let it out, and I realized all the fear I had about people finding out was just that, fear. Crazy enough, I went to a website called and went to a women’s fun outing where I didn’t know anyone. I told one of the ladies and she was so cool about it. She shared her experience as well with her husband and my fear of the dirty looks and shame never came. Even to this day, it never came. If anything, the response you would get is what a jerk – referring to your husband. It’s a process.

      As far as home life, your husband is acting like a typical ‘you made me do it’ type husband. Husband’s that do this have made up in their mind that you drove them to cheat, and that they deserve to cheat. So that is why he is acting the way he does. And unfortunately, with that attitude, little progress will be made. If you are up to it, you can try talking to him about this, I know it’s super uncomfortable. I lived with my ex-husband for over a year, knowing I was leaving and it was hard. You are not at that point yet, you are at the point where you just need to release and talk to someone about it. I also went to Denny’s by myself one day and the waiter was really nice so I told him, and he was super nice about it lol!! After those two situations, I opened up to friends outside of work, good response there as well. It’s a journey, try opening up to one person, and then progress from there, but do not keep it all inside.

  7. Hi. I just found out that he cheated. He is denying it but I have emails. He was going thru craiglist casual encounters. In the past when I found out that he was registered to Ashley Madison, he knew the toll that took on me. He did not care becayse only 4 months later he is back to it. I am so heartbroken. I have been married to him for 14 years. We have 4 kids. I can not stay with him after this. I just don’t know what is the right thing to do.

    1. Hannah,

      Sorry you are going through this, the second time hurts more, because you would think seeing your heartbreak would do something. With 4 kids, I can’t imagine, at times the thought of raising the kids alone would literally make me sick. What I will tell you is with 4 kids, do everything on your time. Get a plan, be strategic, and leave when it benefits you and the kids, and after you have a game plan together. Take care of yourself. Hugs, Jewels.

  8. Hi everyone! You all have given me much needed clarity and empowerment. Its only been 1 week since I caught my husband of 25 years having a month long phone/text relationship with a younger woman. I live in a different world now. I never expected this from the man who would always (until the last few months) tell me how much he loved me and would never hurt me. Maybe I was too cold? What has helped me is a good friend shoulder. Followingy friends advice, I made him call her so I could ask her questions and check out his story. I also told him to tell her it was over in front of me if that’s what he wanted. I told him I still don’t know if I want to stay in this marriage (my feelings and thoughts are so hurt and confused right now), but I’m willing to try with his help. He wants me to just forget it, but that’s never gonna happen. I need answers to move on and he owes me at least that. It won’t be easy, but I truly hope this will help us both be better people for our 3 sons and 2 week old grandbabby. He almost destroyed a beautiful family and I think he sees that now. Any advice for me? The husband I though I knew died a week ago. The only other worst experience for me has been the death of my father. 🙁

    1. Hi Delia,

      Glad the site is helping. That is good if he called if off in front of you. I tried to get my ex-husband to do that and he couldn’t do it (I later found out he was still seeing her). It seems like you found out early on, which is good. I think older men go through this stage of “I need to find out if I still got it’ thing, because finding out that your husband cheated after 20+ years is very common. If you both can get into therapy that would be ideal, as it’s very complex ( as you know because you are probably feeling 20 + emotions all at the same time).

      I totally understand your statement about the only worse experience being the death of your father. Many people have said similar things as far as this being one of the most difficult experience’s in their life. I think many people do not realize the mental trauma that happens when someone verbally and by action commit to loving you, caring for you, and constantly show it – and then they cheat? It really messes with your head because I think we are use to seeing cheaters as very bad human beings….but my husband isn’t like that? How did this happen? The mental anguish is devastating. But hang in there! Many have been through this and you will get through it as well. Take care!!

  9. Thanks Jewels. Almost 2 weeks since the betrayal came to light. I see his full commitment to save our marriage. I’m taking 1 day at a time. The devastation is not as acute now, but still struggling. He wants to just forget, but I can’t. There are many daily reminders, for one she lives across the street. Don’t think he’ll go to therapy. What else can we/I do? Thinking of looking into a church retreat for couples. I feel like I need a lot of work on myself. I need to discover who I am outside of being his wife. Many conflicted emotions. I love him then I hate him. I want him to hurt, even thought of revenge. I’m obsessed with knowing facts. I am consumed by this most of the day. There are sleepless nights. I know time will make it better, but I don’t want to live with bitterness.

  10. Delia, sorry for what you are going through. I have been through it now for so long it is just the norm now. The obession of knowing facts will eat at you for years. I don’t think I slept every well for 1 year. It’s been 6yrs for me. Your adrenaline is what is giving you that fight or flight feeling. You will live with the bitterness if you stay, I do everyday. The lies still hurt 6yrs later for me. Men just want to forget and move on, we can not!!!!! The problem is the OW in your case lives across the street he can see her anytime he wants. I still hate my husband then love him all in aflash! But I do wish I divorced him. I love him still but I am no longer in love with him. My heart is guarded at all times and we just exsist in the same house hold. I didn’t have the money to get a divore or a job so I stayed.

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