Heartbroken over cheating spouse


Greetings everyone, my first post.

I’m really on the edge of reason and my faith these days. Within a year after our first child’s birth my wife had an affair. I stewed over it for a good while, collected legal evidence, and eventually left her returning with our infant daughter to live with my parents (2003). Some months later we reconciled and for the past 6 years life has been getting steadily better, in 2007 our 2nd child was born.

This week my entire world has come crashing down. I’ve had suspicions for some time, the way she says something, the “business” dinner that goes until 11PM, out and out refusing to be affectionate, etc.

I have now discovered, that she has been carrying on a relationship since at least as far back as while she was pregnant with our 2nd child. On top of this it appears that dating or one night stands might have been going on with more than just the aforementioned person.

Needless to say, I’m contacting several lawyers this week. I sat here tonight and we chatted about things regarding the work and the children. I almost couldn’t keep up my faux face, as I thought about how much I will miss the woman I have loved so dearly all this time. How lost I will be with out our friendship, our partnership, and our teamwork that has seemed to work so well these last few years.

I wonder am I right? I ask myself, is it better to raise my two little girls alone or with an adulterer in the house? If we get divorced and I do not win custody, will my daughters grow up to be like their mother? Will she poison their minds with hatred because I forced the issue and petitioned for the divorce when she has custody of them?

Then I look at our life, I read the emails between her and her fling and think, how can she live this fake life, with church, choir, the Mom’s group, PTA, and so forth when the actions she takes in our marriage are in such opposition. How can she live with her self in sin and still take communion? The only answers I hear in my head are that she must not have faith, she must not believe in what I believe, in what she was raise to believe.

The greatest predictor of future behavior is past behavior. This is the 2nd time I’ve caught her being unfaithful. Fool me once…

I am not here to seek advice, I know these decisions are between me and the Lord. I would ask for your prayers, and appreciate your reading your comments and thoughts.


Praying for you.



First let me say that I am so sorry for your situation. I was faced with almost the exact same situation 3 years ago and the pain, betrayal, and confusion I felt was incredible.

I learned of my husbands infidelity when I was 8 months pregnant with my 1st child and he came home with an STD. We went through a few sessions of counseling he assured me it was a one-time thing, and I never looked back.

Almost 5 years later he came home with another STD which he claimed was a sudden reoccurence w/no infidelity involved (totally impossible). Over the next 2 weeks my life totally unravelled. We now had 2 kids 5 and under and after much pressuring he finally admitted that he had never been faithful to me. Never. The next month was torture as the truth began to show itself. I felt like I was living with a psychopath and divorce was the only possible answer. I was truly heartbroken…for myself, my kids, a little bit for my husband. Through prayer I decided to give him a year. During this year I decided to take care of myself and let God take care of my husband. My plan was stand back, watch, wait, and see.

Throught the grace of God I stumbled upon a therapist specializing in Sex & Love addiction. I demanded my husband go. I in the mean time worked on my own issues with a Christian Counselor. To make a long story short, miracles happened. This whole experience solidified my belief in God. I just kept praying to myself “he will restore my soul”. I let go, I allowed myself to feel my feelings and honestly experienced God’s grace for the 1st time in my life. In my case, I think my total and complete emotional breakdown was a tool that God used to pry open the door of my husbands heart. He was so hardened and had apparently spent years justiying his actions and feeling like it was not the biggest deal in the world.

Your wife is a very broken person. Her infidelity is a result of this broken-ness and not anything you’ve done or failed to do. Give her a chance to become whole. If she is courageous enough she’ll get help. You can’t help her, she needs professional help. The key is to get her to the right counselor and to get yourself to the right counselor.

Divorce is a possible outcome but make it the last possible one. Please find yourself support. You are not the only one to have gone through this.

I’ll pray for you. Feel free to message me.

Please google Steve Arterburn. He is a Christian talk show host, author who talks alot about this topic. He helped me immensely.


Praying for you and your family.


Me too. I feel very much for you.


My husband and I have been married for 9 years and he moved out one day. I suspected he might be cheating, but had no evidence. It wasn’t until his friend told me, that I found out. I realize it hurts, but wait for God to guide the way. I don’t know where I will end up, but he is the only one that I can trust. I will pray tonight for your family.


my prayers are with you
May God Bless


Thank you all for the prayers and well wishes.

In 2004 I/we tried taking the route of counseling. I felt it worked but to me now it just seems like she was biting the bullet and playing the part, just as it seems she plays the part of happy wife and mother, happy practitioner of the Catholic faith, etc. To me this all seems like just going through the motions of something she doesn’t really believe she wants in her heart.

I won’t put the emails I’ve read here, or copies of her journal I collected 2003. I won’t delve into her dabbling with the Scientology Cult and the values conversations that we have where she just kind of nods and agrees as though not paying attention and not wanting to start a confrontation.

To me it all adds up to her coming to the conclusion that the life she’s chosen for herself with me and our family, is not the life she desires(d).

She has broken the trust and forgiveness that I worked very hard to develop again after the first incident. Now I’m so appalled, that I can barely stand to look her in the eye and not say, “how could you have done this to your children and I again?!?!”

I do not want to make a rash decision, but I also believe that going through the motions again will only show her she can get away with it if she’s more careful next time. WE are the one’s she’s hurting.

Actions have consequences, and I am positive that, just like the first time, only after she is left in the cold will she realize what kind of mistake she has made. I can forgive her enough that our children will not have to know the anger and hurt I feel, but forgiveness doesn’t mean I should reward her with by enabling or continuing to give her the gift of marriage.

I was counseled out of my decision to divorce her the first time. That decision has left me with another beautiful daughter, but with that wonderful blessing also comes the complexity of the house we own, the desire to not want to uproot, and all the other logistics of putting down the roots that we have over the past 5 years. I don’t dare think of life if my choice then had been different and what it would be today with out our second daughter, but I can’t help but call into question my judgment at that time, and how my decisions have been taken advantage of since.


It sounds to me that she is trying to do all of the right things by being a wife and mother, being involved with PTA, Choir etc… but she has probably been an attention starved sex addict since long before she met you. She probably hates that she is like this and wants to stop but really don’t know how. I don’t think she is doing this for the purpose of hurting you. You should ask her.

The marital relationship might be ruptured, but this doesn’t mean you can’t talk to her as a friend and someone who still cares about her wellbeing. Tell her the trust is gone but your ears are open.

This is not an excuse for her behavior but maybe this is rooted in some early life emotional or sexual trauma she may have suffered. You need to get to the bottom of it.

I suggest you step back and let her know that you do not intend to live the rest of your life with her unless she get some professional and or spiritual help.


Proudfather - My heart aches for the situation you are going through. I think your wife has probably been long suffering from mental and emotional issues that cause her to act this way. Perhaps she has a sex addiction…or feels so lowly about herself that she has to court the attention of men who are not her husband. Just as she turns to Scientology to try and find herself, she turns to these men. Meanwhile, God and her husband wait patiently with open and forgiving arms but she is too wounded to realize this and make amends with both of you. She may suffer from a borderline personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder that make her able to function so normally to outsiders, while behaving so destructive in her marriage.
I know you want to do the right thing by your children and by God…yet at the same time you cannot just be a doormat and allow her to bring such sin into your house. Children catch on pretty quickly as they grow…even if you think have successfully shielded them from the awful truth. Not to mention the risk of disease coming into your marriage…do these kids need two sick parents? If the situation were reversed and you were a women posting this about your husband I wonder if I might have been quicker to say leave. Sometimes we overlook the men who are being emotionally beaten down in their marriage. I do not have much to offer except the recommendation of getting her to a hard-core counselor who deals with personality disorders.
You are in my prayers.


***In such a brief post, there is great wisdom here.

Since you’re not seeking advice per se, please know you and your wife…your marriage…and kids are in my prayers. :gopray: ***


I’m sorry. I feel for you. I know what it’s like. From the female point of view.

No, your wife doesn’t deserve the gift of marriage. The fact she was cheating so quickly into it makes me wonder what she was like as you went into the marriage. She has emotional problems.

YOUR choice should be based on the law that really will NOT strip your wife of everything and punish her and leave her in the cold. The law does NOT really care about right and wrong. Been there, done that.

YOUR choice is whether you can suck it up for another decade and a half and provide a stable home for your children and live separate lives with your wife. Financially, it’s better for the kids. And YOU are in the house to keep a lid on things. You aren’t sending them over to their mother’s for days at a time to see objectionable behavior, to be left alone or with babysitters while she goes out with strange men (who may or may not be a danger to your daughters.)

The situation now is untenable, yes. But she has to meet those men on the sly. If you leave, it gives her permission to bring them openly into your daughters’ lives.

YOUR duty is to protect those little girls. And you can best do that by staying in the house.

Absent violence or other problems or addictions, you are in a situation where your role as father and protector takes precedence over any freedom you might want.

Can you do it? I know as another poster said, often hurting men are overlooked. But it’s time to call on your warrior spirit. Divorce should be a LAST resort. It only makes bad situations worse. If there is any way you can adopt an attitude of solicitous pity for your wife and urge her to get help but not make it easy for her to leave the kids in the lurch… the choice to keep their lives as stable as possible and as Catholic as possible remains with YOU.

You have my prayers. I just have to tell you, the law does NOT care what she does on her own time.

You ask difficult questions about the future. They are unanswerable. Only you know if your wife would try to poison the kids against you if you pulled the sham pretense out from under her.

You might at some point tell your wife you’re staying so that your daughters will have a good example, because you don’t want them to grow up to be like her.


*I think you have been given great advice. It will be a hard road, should you choose to stay OR leave. But, if your wife is willing to work on the marriage, there is hope. Personally, if my husband was cheating on me, and showed no signs of stopping, not so sure I could remain married to him. Does the faithful spouse not matter at all? Because a person chose the wrong person to marry, is that person doomed to stay in a marriage like the OP’s? (with a potentially unrepentent cheater)

I have often pondered that. The faithful spouse matters too! Being selfless …does this mean we just allow someone to walk all over us with no end in sight? Is that how we are to live out such a marriage?*


You will be in my prayers.


It’s not just about the needs of the spouse here. There are children involved. And the OP has a choice to protect the kids. The wife obviously has no judgment about who to let into her life. So in order to “get” the kids in a divorce trial, he would have to completely destroy the mother’s reputation and portray her in public in a certain light in a courtroom. Even then the outcome is iffy. But in the long run, does he really want to do that to the mother of his children, because the long-term repurcussions of that will be felt for decades to come.

Being in the home with the kids is the only way to guarantee he’s around them 24/7 or as close to that as a working dad can. A divorce visitation schedule puts them in the mother’s care without the dad around.


*The ideal, would be for the spouse to become repentant, and the couple to work towards making the marriage better. I would never advocate divorce, or suggest running to divorce court, the minute the other spouse messes up. However, perpetual cheating…and the other spouse remaining…do the kids appreciate that when they’re grown? I don’t know. I have friends whose parents stayed ‘for them,’ and they were very sad to know that their parents were truly unhappy together, but they kept them ‘stuck,’ as they put it. Not my words, theirs. So, I understand your comment, Liberano, I do. But, what do kids learn from watching dad or mom live with a perpetual cheater? It is a very hard place to be in, and I don’t think kids are naive…if they sense the faithful spouse is faking happiness for their sake, what does this accomplish? I don’t know if I could throw my arms around my husband, and pretend he’s the best thing in the world, if I knew he was cheating on me. I also don’t think he’d want me to, if he was cheating on me, so the kids grow up watching mom and dad go through the motions. I dunno, divorce is not a good option, but staying with an unrepentant cheater would be a bad option, also, in my eyes. :frowning:

OP, you have a tough lot, right now. Know I’m praying for you. *


Why are you talking as though one of you would have custody of the children? You said she is involved in PTA and Mom’s group, it sounds like she is a good mother even if she is a bad wife. Why wouldn’t you want to have joint custody so that the children aren’t harmed by the absence of either parent?


What evidence is there that the children will be in any kind of danger if he leaves? Plenty of people cheat on their spouses and take great care of their children. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Yes sometimes you hear horror stories about a divorced woman’s boyfriend molesting the children, but you also hear stories about mothers, fathers, and other family members molesting children.

She was described by the OP as an involved mother, participating in PTA and Mom’s group. What would it do to the children to be away from her? And as someone mentioned, to win custody he would have to make her seems a completely horrible person. What will it do to the children to think that way of the mother.

Too often custody cases are about the spouse, they should be about the children.



My thought to that is maybe proudfather (OP) wants to shield the kids from having to deal with their mom bringing different men around them? (if they are divorced and the mom is on her own) I agree, she seems to be a good mom, but doesn’t take her marriage seriously. Interesting dynamic. But, things change when people get divorced. How many times have we seen divorced parents, and one of the spouses (the one who was the cheater, namely) is more interested in exploring their newfound freedom than being a parent? It happens a lot, and maybe that is what the OP is afraid of, so filing for sole custody, would prevent the mom from having that much of an influence. I am guessing, but that’s my speculation.***


You and your family are in my prayers… GOD bless…

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.