forest path

Question:

Three years ago I caught my husband cheating while I was pregnant with our third child. It was a one night stand with a girl he picked up in a bar. After three years of one lie after another I filed for divorce and moved out. This seemed to be the wake up call he needed and since then the lines of communication have really opened. The problem is that the things he is confessing to have left me disgusted and repulsed. There has been a long history of visits to strip clubs, bars and heavy drinking. He had a history of an STD in college I was previously unaware of. He swears he only cheated once but I find this very hard to believe. He is in the military and gone for extended periods of time and there is no way I would ever find out he was cheating if he was. He seems to have no qualms about lying to me or engaging in activities he knows would hurt me. He had one other serious relationship with a woman he cheated on throughout their entire relationship, then a series of casual sexual relationships until he met me. He claims he felt terrible about the one night stand, but admitted that two months later he was right back in a strip club with his friends, knowing that this was something I would be very upset about. He says he will stop “everything” that would make me upset, never cheat again, stay out of bars, etc. I just don’t know if I want to give him that chance and if I do how do I get over the repulsion I feel when I look at him?

Answer:

Trust is a sacred and important part of a relationship, and it needs to be earned. It is possible that your husband will stop his bad behavior, but re-earning your trust is going to take effort and time, and lots of it. Is he willing to do what it takes? Are you willing to take the risk to give him another chance? Considering your history together of dishonesty and betrayal, it’s understandable that you feel repulsed when you look at him. If you decide to stay with him, you both need to be aware that this kind of healing is a long, difficult process that is best accomplished with the help of a good relationship therapist. And that with couple’s therapy, many couples have been able to heal and even strengthen their relationship.