Stay With a Cheating Husband?

Ask Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I have been married for four months. For almost our entire marriage, my husband has been cheating both emotionally and physically with one of his exes. He even left me for her at one point.

He says he wants things to work between us, but he just left for a year in Korea. I feel like he is taking advantage of my strict upbringing that no matter what happens I'm going to be faithful while he is gone.

I battled depression in college where I just gave up on things that got too hard or buckled under stress from my hard family life. I really don’t want to give up on my marriage. I fought so hard to keep him, but I’m just so confused on my feelings.

I'm supposed to visit him during Christmas, but I don't know if I can face him knowing that at he might leave me again. He is so positive and sure, but I'm not. I asked him if he wants to go to counseling but he refuses. I don't know what to do. Do you have any advice for me?


Dear Heartbroken,

Thank you so much for taking the time from your busy schedule to write to me. Honestly, I have seen many marriages survive infidelity, even the ugliest forms of cheating.

In your situation, there are many red flags, including the cheating. But there are also others. For example, your husband is very immature. He appears to be impulsive. He doesn’t take responsibility for his actions. He wants only to move on like nothing really happened. He doesn’t want to seek the help in marriage therapy. More importantly, he is living in Korea where he has time, opportunity and distance on his side.

This relationship is taking its toll on you. I’m sure you spend your days and nights wondering what he is doing and when you will discover that he is cheating with someone else again.

Here’s the deal: I think it’s time for you to take care of “YOU." You mentioned that you have experienced depression. If you couple depression with other stressful events -- like an unfaithful husband -- this will surely cause you to spin downward quite quickly.

First things first: I think you should make an appointment to see your primary care physician and discuss the depressive symptoms to him/her. Your doctor may want to employ other medical interventions to help you.

Secondly, you should check on base for the availability of counseling services or contact Military OneSource and they will connect you to a provider off base. The services are free. It’s important that you begin counseling to have support and to gain insight too.

Finally, marriage is important and I definitely support marriages. However, it’s important for you to know why you are willing to stay with a lying, cheating husband who is disrespectful toward you. You really deserve the best. I hope you can realize that really soon. At any rate, please stay in touch with me and let me know how you are doing. I’m on your side about this issue.

Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

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