She Wants Details of His Cheating

Ms. Vicki
Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband cannot seem to keep his pants zipped. To my knowledge, he has had three very intense affairs.

The last one was about 18 months ago. I was packing my bags because I was walking out the door and ready to file for divorce. I was done. He begged me to stay and to work through this to try and save our marriage.

I was upset and angry, and I wasn't going to take the blame for him cheating on me. As far as I was concerned, I did nothing wrong to this man but love him too much -- maybe even more than I loved myself.

My husband wanted us to have counseling. To be fair, he was very involved with counseling, and I have seen a change in him. He never missed an appointment, and we actually had a male counselor who was very hard on him.

Here's my problem: I agreed to stay and try to save our marriage, and I said I forgive my husband for everything he has done. But I just can't forget it. I want to know more answers, and he doesn't want to talk about it.

For example, I want to know who these women are. I want to know how they looked and what he did with them. What did they have that I didn't have to make him cheat on me so many times?

He doesn't understand that I am still angry and why I'm so mean to him. He accuses me of beating him up, but why does he think I should just move on so quickly and not have any questions? How can I really move on if he doesn't answer my questions?

-- Maggie

Dear Maggie,

I'm glad to know that you and your husband are trying to make your marriage better and stronger. While it's not your fault that he cheated, you will have to be totally involved in saving your marriage.

Maggie, you are like many women who want to know With who? Why? How many times? What did she look like? How good was she?

Honestly, I think if you knew those answers, it would add more fuel to the fire. Do you really want to know what your husband did to the other women or what they did to him?

How will these answers help you move forward? Instead, I think knowing will only make you angrier, give you more self-doubt and decrease your self-esteem because you will be comparing yourself to other women. That would make you angrier at your husband.

Truly, this is difficult. I can't tell you when you will be able to fully trust your husband or when these bad memories will pass.

Now from your husband's point of view, if you say you will stay and work this out with him, you can't keep beating him up about the past. If he is showing you that he is trying to be faithful, you have to show him forgiveness. I know it's hard.

Marriage counseling is good, and I encourage you both to continue. However, I think you should consider individual counseling. This person should be a different counselor who is empathetic, nonjudgmental and who provides you more support. This person should also give you more insight about how the affairs happened.

Again, I am not blaming you for what your husband did, but studies show that marriages improve when both members of the couple assume responsibility for what has happened.

Maggie, I hope you stay in touch with me in the future to let me know how you and your husband are doing.

-- Ms. Vicki

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