Sex and the City: Betrayed by better half

My husband told me that his company is functioning with minimum staff during the lockdown and that he has to report to work and stay in office for a few days. He went with an overnight bag. I found out later from his phone chat that he and a lady colleague actually volunteered to work from office as they are having an affair. They lived together at office for a week and made a fool of me. He is now at home and I am devastated and depressed. I can’t go to my parents and I can’t be around him. What should I do ?

Ans: This is an unpleasant discovery. While it's natural for you to feel some anger, humiliation, grief and even frustration in a situation like this, you are going to have to deal with the situation with tact and with patience. Of course, this is easier said than done since you are caught in a most unusual place where you can not leave the house due to the lockdown and are also repulsed with what he did.

What should you do? I think the very first step is to assess your husband's emotions about the fact that he was caught cheating on you with another woman. Does he show any remorse about his deeds? Or is he perfectly comfortable with what he has done? Which of these 2 options applies to your husband? If your husband feels like he can get away with infidelity and he justifies it to you or himself because he is tired of you or bored of you, no amount of you begging him to love you or repent will definitively make him feel convinced that he should mend his ways.

If you forsake your dignity with hopes that everything will be 'normal' again, there is a slim chance that your husband may play along and start pitying you for being helpless and in need of him - which won't augur particularly well for your sense of self-esteem. He may also choose to update his phone's privacy settings so you don't have the ability to snoop around his messages, emails and social media.

If your husband is willing to take responsibility for his cheating on you and is clear with you about wanting to work through any issues that occur as a result of his behaviour, you are in a better place to start troubleshooting. This relationship rescue could take place under the care are guidance of a marriage counsellor who is offering assistance and therapy through video chat technology.

Several answers as to why your husband chose to behave this way lie in your cross examining of how your marriage was doing before the lockdown began. Had you both started emotionally drifting apart even before the Covid-19 pandemic became the global threat it currently is? Does your husband lie to you about other things in his life as well? Are there any key issues over which you will tend to have verbal spats or strong disagreements? Are you guys holding on to any grudges from the past with each other? So many questions need to be asked and explored in depth - so you can have a more comprehensive & coherent idea of how your marriage is looking.

In the world we live in, there is always someone better at fooling us than we are at catching them! If you continue to feel devastated and depressed, there will be no reprieve to your condition and you will continue to feel like a sorry victim of poor treatment. However, if you decide to take matters into your hands and get into 'problem solving' mode, you will find that a conversation can accomplish a whole lot more than endless speculation.

Why did he do it? Should he have done it? Will he do it again? How is he like this? These are questions that only your husband can answer. Most men cheat on their wives to find excitement in their lives. Women cheat on their husbands too. It isn't a partner's fault that they may not be adhering to a certain fixed idea of romance or sex.

Nobody is a mind reader. People want different things from their lives at different times in their lives. These must be communicated. These changes are impossible to predict as people and their tastes evolve dynamically and sporadically - all the time. If you manage to figure out why he cheated on you, you will be in a better position to negotiate or navigate through this.

While it's true that you cannot leave the house due to the lockdown, you can certainly request to be given your space - as you spend time in pursuits that give you joy and clarity. He may or not approve but that’s not your problem. Your husband should not be the focal point of your existence while he may undoubtedly be a key aspect of it. Your peace, clarity, growth and evolution will always be that focal point and that stays as your responsibility, whichever way you wish to navigate in life.

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