Mom Who Feels 'Trapped' Wonders If She Should Leave Her Husband After His Emotional Affair

She felt betrayed by her husband yet stuck in her marriage.

Husband and wife fighting after husband had an emotional affair RDNE Stock Project / Pexels

Infidelity can rock a marriage to its core, leaving the hurt party in a state of confusion and disbelief. Even in situations where no physical cheating occurs, couples can still find themselves destabilized and questioning what their next move should be.

A mom who feels ‘trapped’ wondered if she should leave her husband after he had an emotional affair.

The unnamed mother wrote to Mumsnset, the English parenting forum, asking if she should leave her 16-year marriage since she discovered her husband’s emotional affair.


“I'm feeling incredibly lost and hurt after I found messages on my husband's phone after he crashed out after a drunken night out with his phone on his lap,” she explained. “It's [been] three weeks since that night, and I'm still so hurt and angry; I have no idea how to move on from this.”

She described the messages she found on his phone, saying they were “along the lines of ‘I want to fall into your arms' and 'hardest night ever not being able to message you.’” 

@choosingtherapy Emotional affairs can be different for everyone, but they typically follow seven stages of progression. An emotional affair usually starts out as a simple friendship, but this can quickly snowball into an unhealthy dynamic.  Someone feels initially drawn to a “friend,” devotes more time to them, and eventually becomes more dependent on them. Not addressing these stages early on can result in infidelity and severe relational repercussions. Article: The 7 Stages of Emotional Affairs & How to Recover Written by: Kevin Mimms LMFT Medically Reviewed by: Kristen Fuller MD Published: 03/20/2023 #emotionalaffair #emotionalaffairs #emotionalaffairsareworse #emotionalinfidelity #emotionalcheating #relationshipstruggle ♬ someone to you - ☾⋆⁺₊🎧✧

RELATED: 5 Tiny Signs Your Friendship Has Turned Into A Full-Blown Emotional Affair


Her husband had texted his ex-girlfriend, who he’d been involved with in his early 20s. When confronted, he told his wife that he was “feeling nostalgic, and she was telling him how she never got over him.” He justified the messages by saying, “It felt exciting, [like] an ego massage when life was a bit boring.”

Later, she found out he’d planned to meet up with his ex to go on a walk and “catch up” while she was visiting her parents, a plan he revealed because he assumed she’d seen that part of the conversation. 

“He told me he would never have done anything and just wanted to catch up, and the plans were made before the messages became less innocent,” the mom wrote. “He hasn't seen her since before we met and never saw her during these message conversations.”

The mom shared that she felt “completely alone and trapped,’” because her husband has “a really good job” while she works as a dinner lady, which is what they call cafeteria workers in England so that she can be with their son.


She explained that she supports her husband with parenting and housekeeping because he has ‘the big job’ — only now, she feels like she has no options. 

“I can't get past this, but I have nowhere to go and no money to do it with, as I would have nothing without him, and life would have to change significantly for our child, both emotionally and financially,” she said. 

“The other night, I felt like I was making progress on feeling less hurt, and then he told me more about this girl and that she was earning similar money to him and had done so well with her career," she continued. "Then [he] proceeded to say how I'd never really had a career as such and how I'd never earned much." 

Sad woman wondering if she should leave her husband Ron Lach / Pexels


“I couldn't believe the insensitivity of this after what we were trying to overcome,” she said. “It made me feel like I was unattractive to him on every level. I feel so alone and am having to struggle to pretend to my son that all is fine, which is exhausting and lonely.”

RELATED: 5 Tiny Signs You May Be Having An Emotional Affair — Even If You Don’t Think You Are

Other moms' advice focused on taking care of her and her child’s needs in whatever ways she could. 

One woman suggested taking classes “to get yourself ahead so you aren't reliant upon your husband and can move to better-paid roles.”

She also advised, “Don’t be alone in this,” and told the mom to reach out to friends. She spoke from personal experience, offering a message of hope, writing, “Sending love as I have previously been in this situation and am now remarried, I promise there is light at the end of the tunnel.”


“You don't have to make a decision straight away,” another user wrote. “Give yourself time to analyze what you really want and how you truly feel. Allowing yourself this time will take the pressure off you.” 

@drkathynickerson Here are some reasons why you should leave a marriage after infidelity. Remember that this is your choice and it's a very personal choice. You get to do what is right for you, but your safety and mental health need to be priorities. Sending you the biggest hugs. ##infidelity##affairs##affairrecovery##infidelityrecovery##relatuonshipadvice##survivinginfidelity##cheating##postinfidelitytrauma ♬ original sound - Dr Kathy Nickerson

“This situation is a big wake-up call to your vulnerability in your relationship,” a third commenter explained. “Stop focusing on him now. You need to do a whole life assessment on you. Your self-esteem, hobbies, [and] parenting split, and finally, your long-term job potential.”

The user continued, advising the mom to prepare for the end of her marriage by ensuring she has access to childcare, reviewing finances, speaking to a solicitor about their financial split, and going to therapy.


The mom came to the comments to express gratitude for that particular piece of advice.

The complexity of her situation highlights the value of protecting yourself and your individual lifestyle, even within a marriage. 

Emotional affairs are especially complicated because the sense of betrayal hinges upon a personal connection as opposed to a physical one, which is hurtful in its own right.

@themccabelife Setting boundaries around your marriage will help protect from an emotional affair. These things are happening so often because we are not guarding our relationships. #marriage #marriagecounseling #marriagecoach #marriageadvice #relationshiphelp #relationshipcoach #couplescounseling #infidelity #emotionalaffair ♬ original sound - Terry and Katie

Coming back from a breach of trust is never easy work, but repairs in marriage can be made if that’s what the mom wants to focus on. 

Whatever she chooses to do, she deserves to give herself compassion and grace for making her way through heartbreak. Eventually, she’ll come out on the other side, a changed version of herself.

RELATED: 9 Tiny Signs Your Marriage Is Over After One Of You Cheats


Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.