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Is It My Fault If My Family Falls Apart After He Cheats?


My husband had an affair for 5 months before I found out about it. When I did find out, the affair continued for at least another 2 months- with him refusing to move out and I had no where to go. I’m 750 miles from my family, have 2 kids and no money. During this time he basically gave me a chance to "prove I could be the woman he married 7 yrs ago" but he wasn’t going to stop seeing her, and he did it openly. I wasn’t allowed to give him grief about it if I wanted to hold my family together for my kids or he’d walk. I even had to beg & bargain just so he’d have her stop contacting him when he was with me- and even then I was told it only if she agreed & I got to hear about how unfair it was to her.

Obviously as time went on things got a bit too much for me to handle and I said some extremely hurtful things which caused him to move in with a friend. He immediately changed his mind and wanted to come back home, but I just couldn’t let him. I just wanted some time to deal with everything that had happened. He had just admitted that he was talking to her again after he’d told me 2 weeks before that it was over. The wasn’t the last time I was told that only to find out a week later that they had been talking.

Things have gone down hill since then, with him pushing to come home and I just cant let him, he’s said some very ugly stuff that made me draw away. We eventually got to the point where I couldn’t do anything to show that I was willing to try to make things work, and am being told that its my fault the family is falling apart. That I’m just holding onto the pain and wallowing in self pity but I really don’t feel that is the case. I don’t feel anger towards him, I really want him to be happy. I’m just tired of hurting and I will admit that its very hard of me to get past all the things that I went through, the begging the being told about how she feels and her rights, the fact that before I knew what was going on he had her at our house for Thanksgiving dinner, they cooked in my kitchen together because I had just had surgery and couldn’t. I believe he is sincerely sorry for what happened and that he’s ready to try to make our marriage work. I just can’t let him back in.

Is he right to blame me and tell me that its my fault that the marriage is failing? Am I being selfish? I’m so tired of my head going in circles, an un-biased opinion would be greatly appreciated.

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This is hard for me to read because the way you’ve been treated is so very ugly. You have been badly emotionally abused by this man. It is not in your imagination. If he has truly treated you the way you’ve described here, he has really been very cruel towards you.

It’s normal for abusers to rationalize their behavior and blame their victims for causing problems. This is part of their sickness. They are either too selfish, immature, entitled and narcissistic to realize how badly they are treating others, or they are sadistic and actively deriving pleasure from the act of abusing. I’m thinking the former case is probably more likely the case with regard to your husband. It is certainly more common.

Your husband’s behavior is simply outrageous. It is outrageous that he continued an affair and actually made it public and blackmailed you with it. It is outrageous that he prioritized his girlfriend’s "rights" over his wife’s rights. It is outrageous that he brought her into your home and has treated you like such a second class citizen. He has demonstrated amply that he has no respect for you or regard for your feelings. Bearing this in mind, it would seem to me that allowing him back into your life would be basically asking for more abuse and more trouble. I don’t think you are to blame for breaking up the family. Instead, I think you are simply acting intelligently (to not allow him back) after he has demonstrated that he is not capable of being a reasonable and caring partner or parent. He broke up the marriage by breaking your trust in him, and you are just following through by not allowing yourself to be a doormat. He is not right to blame you and you are not being selfish. You are being sane.

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