I found out my cheating husband is having an affair with a child – what should I do?
Dear Newsweek, Two years ago I discovered that my husband had been cheating on me for 30 years – and I found out in quite spectacular fashion.
A young man of 24 contacted me and said that my husband was his father, which my husband immediately and vehemently denied. My husband continued to lie until I threatened to divorce him. I forced him to do a DNA test to see once and for all if this man was his son and it came out with a 98 percent match.
I have since found out who the mother and the other woman were and it turns out I know them and had once considered them good friends. I have PTSD, nightmares and I’ve lost all faith in a man I’ve been married to for 30 years. My mental state is weak and my health is suffering.
We have our own children and I am staying for them for now but my husband has done nothing to make things right. He says it’s been 25 years and I should just get over it but he lied to me for 30 years and would never tell me the truth. There is no more trust and I feel broken, he knew cheating was one of the few things I wouldn’t stay for but my family is begging me not to go. Please help.
Newsweek’s “What should I do?” offers readers expert advice. If you have a personal dilemma, let us know at email@example.com. We can ask experts for advice on relationships, family, friends, money and work, and your story could be featured on WSID at Newsweek.
You didn’t break the marriage vows, your husband did
dr Chloe Carmichael Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and USA Today bestselling author.
Thank you for your reference. I am so sorry that you are experiencing betrayal on multiple levels.
Assuming your kids are adults, I would question the idea of staying together “for them” or because other family members are begging you. This is your life, your marriage, and your choice.
While a marriage can survive infidelity, it requires a restoration of trust. This means that the adulterer takes full responsibility for the need to fix what he broke. Your husband’s infidelity and his denial when confronted about it — combined with his current attempt to minimize it — suggest that he isn’t serious about repairing it. Since he broke the vows and isn’t trying to fix them, one might assume that your marriage is actually already over; and a divorce would merely be an update of the records to reflect reality.
It’s possible that he wants to get involved but switches off because he doesn’t know how. Since you successfully passed the DNA test, you might be able to successfully pass couples therapy. An experienced therapist could help him take the necessary steps to restore the marriage. If he continues to be unwilling to take responsibility, I wouldn’t blame you for filing for divorce. Of course, I wouldn’t blame you either if you decide to stay married, it’s really a personal choice. I tend to advocate taking marriage vows very seriously. Actually, in your case, I wouldn’t blame you for filing for divorce because you didn’t break the vows, your husband did. The only question now is whether or not they could be restored.
I encourage you to take the time and seek personal counseling from a therapist or clergyman. Whether you are working towards reuniting with your husband or starting your own business, you would benefit from having a wise, consistent and non-judgmental support system.
Wishing you all the best.
Your children ask a lot of you
Nicole Sodoma is a divorce attorney and the author of Please Don’t Say You’re Sorry.
Knowing what separation and divorce look like on the other side of that decision is paramount. Do you need financial support? Are assets or debts to be taken into account? The legal ramifications of adultery, even if it was something truly outrageous, might not result in what you think is fair given the circumstances. Additionally, someone unwilling to accept their behavior or acknowledge the impact their betrayal has on you doesn’t sound like someone who would be easy to navigate through a divorce process. Consider a post-marital agreement that sets out what a breakup would look like while you work on the relationship. However, you cannot change his perception of events or how he reacts to yours.
An emotional divorce is different from an actual divorce. Your children ask a lot of you to stay with your adulterous partner as it takes a lot of work from both of you to heal, if at all possible.
Even this marriage-loving divorce attorney would have a hard time accepting this dark secret that has been kept for so long, and I would worry if there were any more skeletons in the closet.
https://www.newsweek.com/wsid-husband-cheated-adult-child-1788566 I found out my cheating husband is having an affair with a child – what should I do?