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Is it worth making a marriage work after multiple affairs?

Published on September 5, 2012 by lisamb

I found out my husband of 6 years had an affair. The affair was a few "one night stands" with the same woman. To add insult to injury he had an affair 4 years ago (right after the birth of our youngest child). Alcohol seems to be a common denominator in both situations. He has now quit drinking and wants to make the marriage work. I am at a loss because I don't know if he wants to stay because its easier than dealing with an ex and child support or if he really wants to make a go of it. I also don't want to give in and forgive him just to have it happen again. I feel like an idiot for having stayed the first time, and now I feel like I am stuck. I really love him, but I don't want to live the rest of my life being the woman that "looks the other way". He was married before to a woman that is older than him and he let himself go. When we got together he started taking care of himself more because I am 10 years younger and he was afraid I would find someone closer to my age that was more appealing. He now claims that these affairs happened because he hasn't gotten this kind of attention before. I am at a total loss. I don't know if I should stay or go and I have two amazing daughters that I need to be a good role model for. Is it better for them to see a woman that isn't afraid to fight for the person she loves, or a woman that won't let some MAN walk all over her?

ANSWERS

I have known alcoholics who completely turned their lives around once they faced their disease and forswore alcohol. If you really believe his affairs were because of alcohol (philandering is sometimes another form of self-medication), and you can find it in you to do so, give him a final chance. Make clear to him that this IS his last chance and that you and your daughters WILL leave him AND financially ruin him if he ever cheats again (and that you will be watching him). Further, if any of his mistresses are still around, he is to have absolutely nothing to do with them. Finally, he is to join an alcoholism support group and go regularly. If he violates ANY of these rules, you're done with him.

It would also be a good idea for him to see a therapist to determine and address just what sort of pain he was trying to self-medicate with alcohol and women. Beyond that, it would be very helpful for YOU (alone or with him) to see your own therapist to learn how to deal with having been cheated upon.

Good luck

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